Top-ranked Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini really wanted to win the Serbia Open since he was joined by his parents in Belgrade. On Sunday, Berrettini edged out rising Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1 3-6 7-6 (0) to win the inaugural Serbia Open.
"It was something that I really wanted to happen, because my dad came once in Munich when I lost the final (l. Garin). And my mom has never come for a final,” Berrettini said, per the ATP website. "So I was like, okay this is the right moment.
And I think with a match like this it’s going to stick in our minds forever. It’s something special. “I remember this same kind of match, 7-6 in the third, in the finals of an Under-16 in Germany. And it’s crazy, because in the end it’s the same feeling.
I was a kid and now I’m a pro, but it’s the same feeling. They [have] supported me since the day I was born, so it’s a great honour to bring them to these kinds of stages”.
Berrettini came up big in key moments
The third set was an extremely tight contest but it all changed in the tie-break, which Berrettini absolutely dominated to claim the title.
"Today I proved to myself that I can fight and I can digest tough situations," he said. "I'm able to handle really tough moments. There are moments that all athletes in general have, but I really put myself in the struggle without any fear.
I came back stronger... Sometimes it feels nice to feel [that struggle] because I remember that I'm strong. I'm a good player, but I think I'm a stronger person." Berrettini also showed his class after the match as he showed his respect for Karatsev.
"I respect [Aslan] a lot. I have practiced with him once and I know that he can play great tennis. I think he did a great match today," Berrettini said. "The mental part was that he deserved to be in the final, but I deserved it as well.
In the end when you're in a final, it's [about] who wants it more. Yes, you have to play good tennis, you have to be tough. But at the end of the day the Rankings don't count, the Race doesn't count. It's just who wants it more or who is more ready, and I guess today I was better than him."