September 9, 2021
New York, New York, USA
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Berrettini
5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on the match.
MATTEO BERRETTINI: Really tough match, as always against Novak. I was feeling good, playing good. Just he has this ability - and probably that's why he's the best ever - just to step up his game, his level all the time. Doesn't matter how well I play, he just plays better. He starts to return better, to serve better. Just couldn't step up like he did. He deserved to win.
The good thing is I learn a lot from every time we play. Nothing. I mean, I cannot complain. He was better than me. I saw the stats. I played a good match, but was just better than me.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you describe what it's like from a physical standpoint to play against him.
MATTEO BERRETTINI: I mean, I never experienced. Was different with Rafa two years ago, but kind of the same thing. I think with Rafa I also got to the semis. I was more tired. After two sets, I ran out of energies.
With him I feel good, but it's just that keep up that level, I need extra - I don't know - experience I guess, maybe just to play better. He doesn't give me any free points. I have to earn every single point. Doesn't matter if I serve or if I return, he makes me sweat in a way that at the end...
I don't think I played worse than the first set, just a little bit I guess more tired that in a way with other players I wouldn't feel it. With him, just one point percentage-wise and the game changed. Yeah, that's what I feel on the court.
Q. How much did the first set take out of you?
MATTEO BERRETTINI: Look, I felt it was great that I won it. With every player out there, probably every other player out there, I would have felt like, Okay, now I'm going to go. For sure he's going to be tired, too, a little bit. I can kind of like go over with my game, with my energy and everything.
With him, it looks like he doesn't care. Actually he takes energy from that set that he lost. Like happened the same thing in Wimby. It's not better to lose 6-3 in 40 minutes. It's better to win it like that.
He used to it. Yeah, I saw stats how many semis he played in his life. Like I said at the beginning, probably the greatest ever. There is nothing. There is not a lot you can do. Right now there is nothing I can do. The goal is, like, to be ready next tournaments.
Q. Are you saying you feel Novak is a better player than Roger and Rafa?
MATTEO BERRETTINI: No. It's always tricky this question for me because there are personal opinions and then there are the stats and stuff. I just know we are experiencing something that didn't happen in the last I don't know how many years. Just looking at the stats, just looking at the numbers, he's doing something that the other two didn't do.
But then everybody can say the G.O.A.T. is one player or the other player. There are still some people that they think McEnroe or Sampras or Agassi was just better than him. It's a personal feeling. I think this is what is great about the sport.
For example, for me, LeBron is better than Michael Jordan, but it's not that they're going to kill me for that. It's just my personal feeling. Because I wasn't born when he was playing. It's just different.
I think playing against him is such an honor in a way because we are experiencing something that is great. I told him that I wished him good luck for what he is doing. At the end of the careers we can compare.
But I enjoy them. I enjoy what they're doing. I don't like to pick one of the three.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports