It was love at first sight.
When Matteo Berrettini competes at the US Open Tennis Championships in Flushing on Monday, maybe some new fans will be making racquets in the stands.
The 26-year-old, 6’5″ tall Italian powerhouse, who models for Hugo Boss, is serving up some serious heartache – and his admirers aren’t shy about putting the ball in his hand.
“Someone help me how to start watching tennis for my new husband Matteo Berrettini”, One delighted fan tweeted.
“I’ve never watched tennis in my life, but maybe I’ll start now because Matteo Berrettini.” tweeted Magge Christine.
But Berrettini does not tense anyone.
“I really don’t know what to say about that,” he told the Post. “Hopefully they like my look, I think, and then eventually they like tennis too.”
Born in Rome, he made history as the first Italian man to make it to the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam events.
His catwalk career took off when a Hugo Boss manager saw him being interviewed after losing at Wimbledon in 2021.
“I think one of the reasons why they chose me is also my personality. I hope so, that’s what they told me,” he said. “So I’m glad this thing comes out when I play.”
Although Berrettini, ranked No. 15 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings, never considered modeling a side hustle, he said there was one person who always did – his grandmother Lucia.
“But I thought she’d be more likely to say it because I’m her grandchild, so to your grandma you’re always the most beautiful person on the planet,” he said.
Although Lucia doesn’t travel much, her friends take photos of her grandson on billboards around the world and she sends them to him.
“It was weird at first, but now it’s funny,” he said.
He wasn’t aware of it 10″x9″ Billboard with his picture at the Time Warner Center. He won’t get a chance to see it himself, he said: “I will send my mother to take a picture.”
But he had time for pizza.
On this trip to New York, Berrettini made a point of stopping and eating at Ribalta on East 12th. “A really good friend of mine is friends with the owner and took me there,” he said. “And I have to say, the pizza was really good… I feel like I’m in New York, it’s not that easy to find good Italian food, but when you find it, it feels like Italy.”
His father Luca and mother Claudia will be at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center cheering him on as usual. “When they can, they always come especially to big tournaments,” he said.
The accomplished athlete, who became the first Italian to play in the Wimbledon singles final in 2021, losing four sets to Novak Djokovic, made headlines in the fourth round of the Open last year for his friendliness on the court.
When he defeated Germany’s Oscar Otte – who sustained a wrist injury during the game and fell over the net – he gesture for the crowd instead of applauding him Otte.
“I’m trying to be as fair as possible, it’s true that it’s your opponent, but that doesn’t mean he can’t hurt himself or he’ll fall and I won’t help him,” he said.