Matteo’s father taught tennis in a village in Sicily with Fiorello. He taught his girlfriend Tomljanovic how to cook cacio e pepe pasta. He likes American literature: that’s who the first Italian Wimbledon finalist is
A Sunday for two. First Matteo, then Roberto and his boys. Berrettini at Wimbledon, the Azzurri at Wembley. An hour and a quarter of Tube, the London Underground, less than 20 km. But if everyone knows the national team, maybe Matthew, in English for once just to geolocate him, a little less. So let’s find out, or rediscover it.
Good blood does not lie. In fact, Luca was a tennis teacher in the holiday villages, together with Fiorello. And just one summer in Brucoli, Sicily, he met Claudia, Matteo’s mother. Who was then pushed to play by his younger brother, Jacopo, who is also a tennis player. Thanks to his advice, Matteo joined the Circolo della Corte dei Conti, led by Raoul Pietrangeli, and then in the Circolo Canottieri Aniene, under the aegis of Vincenzo Santopadre who is still his coach. He and Jacopo train together (they made their doubles debut in April 2021, at the Sardegna Open) and are very close. Matteo is also a fan of Fiorentina, a passion inherited from his paternal grandfather. Grandmother from Brazil and Florence, but with a very Roman accent and heart. He attended high school in Montesacro. The favorite city then: “Of course, my Rome” said Matteo.
The final at Wimbledon is the natural step forward that follows in the footsteps of the previous one, the semifinal at the Us Open 2019, when he had to bow to Rafa Nadal. The boy quickly learns from his mistakes. He’s been working on himself since he was a kid, he was 16. “Thanks to an intuition of Santopadre, who knew me and who wanted a different path for Matteo – explained mental coach Stefano Massari in the past -. Vincenzo has focused on the personal growth of the boy as well as on the technical one ”. Santopadre understood that for Matteo, who he had followed since he was 13, something extraordinary was needed, just like his player: “He has always been very curious – explained the coach -. He is a boy who listens, elaborates, and then puts into practice with an impressive speed ”.
He loves American literature: Bukowski, Bunker, Hemingway, and then also cinema, especially Tarantino. Django Unchained is one of his favorites. After the director of Kill Bill, he moved on to the masters: Kubrick, Sergio Leone, Sorrentino, with “One more man” and then obviously the “Great Beauty”. Finally Nanni Moretti, whom he did not know. Cinema not only as a pastime, but as an approach to tennis. The desire for knowledge makes him think, he learns, he feels enriched. And he also loves to read: “Favorite book? For Whom Hemingway’s Bell Tolls ”. And the music: “I listen to a little bit of everything”. He called himself a curious, but “too perfectionist”. He admires the purity of women, among other sports he likes basketball, especially the NBA, and cheers “for the team where LeBron James plays”. Among the Italians, however, it focuses on Gigi Datome. At school he liked history but not chemistry. As a child he wanted to be a biologist.
Returning to women, he is currently with a colleague, Ajla Tomljanovic. They went through the pandemic together in Boca Raton, Florida. He taught her how to cook, transmitting her passion for Italian food, in particular for her favorite dishes, pasta with cheese and pepper and garlic, oil and chilli. Without forgetting the amatriciana. They speak English to each other, as they said in an interview with Sky Sport: “But when we fight I speak in Italian. You say that when I speak English on a scale from 1 to 10 they are from 8, when I speak Italian they are from 10 ”. “That’s why I’m trying to learn Italian,” the Australian-born Croatian said with a smile. On Sunday, of course, he will be in the stands. To suffer. And to cheer. Probably in Italian, certainly the swearing. Hoping there is no need.
July 9, 2021 (change July 9, 2021 | 22:53)
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