World number ten Matteo Berrettini says Italian tennis is in a very healthy place as four of it’s young stars ranked in the Top 40 are supporting each other to succeed.
Alongside Berretini, Fabio Fognini (17th), Lorenzo Sonego (34th) and Jannik Sinner (36th) are all making strides in their respective careers and gaining recognition on the tour.
Italy and France are the only two countries that have four players ranked in the Top 40 and Berrettini says its a really good situation to be in.
”It is something that we should be really proud of. All the players are really nice guys and there are others coming,” said Berrettini.
“It is a really healthy environment for tennis in Italy… The guys are great, we have fun when we practice together.
“We are helping each other to reach our goals and I think this is something really healthy and really great for tennis.”
Berrettini knows from experience the difference one to two good seasons can make, not only to your confidence but also to the way other players view you.
Matteo started 2018 ranked 158 and ended 2019 ranked eighth in the World qualifying for his first elite ATP Finals and he says being in the top ten makes you a target.
“You feel that when you are in the draw, they are looking at you like, ‘Okay, this guy is a seed so I want to beat him even more” Berrettini told atptour.com
“It definitely changed, but it is what you have to take. There are pros and cons and I think you have to get used to it and get better at it.”
“Once you get [to the Top 10], you cannot say, ‘Okay, I am going to be happy if I am Top 20’… Obviously, it is not bad at all,” said Berrettini.
“When I was younger and I was thinking about myself being Top 20, I was like, ‘Okay, it could be a nice goal for my career’.
“I was Top 8 and obviously I am chasing to be even better, but I got there without thinking about it. It is in my head, but I have to work every day and hopefully I can improve my best ranking.”
Berrettini will captain Team Italy at the ATP Cup in February with teammate Fabio Fognini before the Australian Open.
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?