'It Was A Small Trauma': Leaving Berrettini's Camp Was Tough To Digest For Ex-Coach

'It Was A Small Trauma': Leaving Berrettini's Camp Was Tough To Digest For Ex-Coach

by Nurein Ahmed

Throughout his professional career, Matteo Berrettini has only known one coach, and the same could be said about Vincenzo Santopadre, who has only coached one player.

After 13 years, Berrettini parted company with his countryman, who nurtured his talent to become one of the world's best male Italian players. Berrettini's run to his first and only Grand Slam final at 2021 Wimbledon underpinned his career under Santopadre's tutelage.

When Santopadre learned that he would not be involved in any capacity within Berrettinin's coaching camp next season, his first reaction, as expected, was that of shock. He called it a "trauma" during an interview with Corriere dello Sport.

In an emotional farewell post he penned on Instagram, Berrettini credited Santopadre for turning his serve into a trademark shot of his that made him one of the purest ball strikers in tennis. Santopadre, 52, compared their relationship on tour to that of a couple and was clearly shaken when it ended.

"It was a small shock, a small trauma, it is undeniable that it is like this. I think Matteo and I have been good at protecting our relationship, not affecting it in any way."

"The synergy between coach and player is similar to a couple relationship, as you spend more time together on the circuit than with your family. It was a professional estrangement. Sometimes you have to make certain decisions but that doesn't mean you can't go to dinner together tomorrow."

Although their professional alliance has ended, Santopadre and Berrettini remain away from the tour on good terms. The 27-year-old has endured an injury-riddled 2023, which has seen his stock and ranking plummet considerably.

Berrettini was previously linked with former World No. 4 Thomas Enqvist, who was set to take over the reins as Santopadre's replacement before choosing to go with the ex-coach of Rafael Nadal, Francisco Roig. Santopadre expects the Spaniard to improve Berrettini on a "technical" and "human level."

"He (Roig) is a very experienced coach: he was an excellent tennis player and knows this sport very well both technically and on a human level."


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