Last year, the Italian was forced to miss the majority of the clay-court season, but he came back to the grass courts stronger than ever, winning all nine matches he played, and two titles, before being forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon.
Because of that, only Novak Djokovic remained the only person to beat Berrettini in the last four years on the grass courts, as he won one title on grass also in 2021, before making a run to the Wimbledon final, where he was stopped by the Serb, who is now a 23-time Grand Slam champion.
This year, the 27-year-old ended the clay-court season without a loss, but for all the bad reasons. After playing two matches in Monte Carlo, an injury forced him out of the rest of the clay-court season, withdrawing also from the 2023 Roland Garros.
But Berrettini was back for the grass-court season, and he entered the 2023 Stuttgart Open as the defending champion, wanting to prove once again that it's the surface that suits him the best.
In the first round of the tournament, he was drawn against a very difficult opponent, fellow Italian Lorenzo Sonego. But it was in Sttutgart where Berrettini managed to beat his compatriot last year, and his hopes were high ahead of the first-round match.
Yet, he couldn't really show what fans were used to seeing over the past couple of years. In the match, both players had six break points, but it was the efficiency that mattered.
While Berrettini couldn't use any of his chances, Sonego used a total of four break points, two in each set, destroying his opponent in an hour and 10 minutes, 6-1, 6-2.
For the 2021 Wimbledon finalist, it certainly wasn't the comeback that he expected, but he will quickly need to forget the loss. Because of losing last year's 500 points, he'll drop by at least 12 places in ATP Rankings, and if he doesn't make up for the lost points during the remainder of the grass-court season, he may be unseeded in the All England Club.