Matteo Berrettini is set to participate in the Arizona Tennis Classic – a Challenger tour event in Phoenix, Arizona, and it has taken tennis fans by surprise.
The former World No. 6, who is currently ranked World No. 23, crashed out of Indian Wells 2023 in his opening match on March 10. Having concluded his run at the Masters 1000 event earlier than expected, it was announced that the athlete had accepted a main draw wild card for the Challenger tournament in Phoenix, to be held between March 13-19. This isn’t the first time that the Italian is contesting the Arizona Tennis Classic. Matteo Berrettini was the inaugural champion at the event in 2019, when he was ranked World No. 57.
Other well-known players who have earned a main draw wild card in the Arizona tournament are World No. 38 Diego Shwartzman (who has a career-high ranking of World No. 8) and World No. 210 Gael Monfils (who has a career-high ranking of World No. 6). Four other players inside the top 50 will be seen in action at the Arizona Tennis Classic – Richard Gasquet, Alexander Bublik, Jiri Lehecka and Marc-Andrea Husler.
However, Matteo Berrettini’s Challenger level participation, while ranked inside the World’s top 25 hasn’t gone down well with tennis fans. Numerous miffed fans called him out for ruining the chances of lower-ranked players, who would have benefitted from the money and the ranking points.
“I think its really unfair to the lower ranked players who rely on challengers for money and points. Just because these guys get knocked out of IW early shouldn’t automatically justify wc’s,” one fan said.
“This sucks. Really. These players have no business playing challengers. It trickles down, taking spots from players who need to be in these draws to literally eat,” another fan chimed in.
Here are a few more reactions from fans:
Matteo Berrettini’s 2023 season off to a shaky start
Matteo Berrettini has dragged his wavering form from 2022 into the new season. The former World No. 6 has scored a mere five wins with as many losses so far in the 2023 season.
The Italian tennis player kicked off his campaign on a generally positive note at the United Cup, scoring three back-to-back wins against two losses. However, Berrettini witnessed an unfortunate early exit at the Australian Open, where he was defending his semifinal appearance from 2022. In his opening round clash, the 26-year-old suffered a defeat at the hands of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray after failing to covert a match point.
Berrettini did not feature in any tournaments in February and resumed his campaign at the 2023 Mexican Open in Acapulco. While he managed to reach the quarterfinals, the player was forced to retire mid-match against Holger Rune, owing to a supposed calf injury. The Italian failed to create an impact in Indian Wells as well, and he waved goodbye in the Round of 64 against Japan’s Taro Daniel.
Berrettini will now hope to regain some confidence with his upcoming appearance at the Arizona Tennis Classic in Phoenix.