'I'd have signed in blood': Berrettini on Wimbledon red alert
Matteo Berrettini has Carlos Alcaraz in his sights at Wimbledon after admitting he would "have signed in blood" to play at the All England Club when injury was threatening to derail his career.
A barnstorming run through the draw has taken the charismatic Italian into a fourth round blockbuster against the world number one on Monday.
"It's what you want, right? You want to play against the best players in the world. Playing against Carlos, it's always been a pleasure, a great fight," said the 27-year-old Berrettini.
The Italian giant was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2021 but missed last year's tournament through Covid.
A stomach injury, which restricted him to one match between April and June, pushed him to the brink of another withdrawal.
"When I arrived I wasn't sure even if I was going to play," he said.
"I thought I'm not ready. But then I missed too many events in the last years and I couldn't leave this place without trying.
"This place has something special. I feel a kind of energy I don't feel anywhere else."
Berrettini missed a chunk of the 2022 season with a hand injury before his latest physical issues struck.
He was forced to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters after two rounds because of his abdomen injury and sat out a second successive French Open.
His return for the grass-court season saw him slump to a first round defeat in Stuttgart against compatriot Lorenzo Sonego when he managed just three games.