'Tough to watch': Tennis world rocked by 'devastating' moment

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Matteo Berrettini was consoled by his opponent Alexander Zverev after being forced to retire from their ATP Finals match with injury. Pic: Getty
Matteo Berrettini was consoled by his opponent Alexander Zverev after being forced to retire from their ATP Finals match with injury. Pic: Getty

Local favourite Matteo Berrettini has been reduced to tears after injury forced to him to pull out of his ATP Finals match against Alexander Zverev, after just one set.

Playing in front of his home fans in Turin, the Italian retired early in the second set with an apparent abdominal injury.

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Zverev won the first set 7-6 (7) and was leading 1-0 in the second when Berrettini dropped his racquet to the ground, covered his face and slumped over in agony, with commentator's describing the scenes as "tough to watch".

The Italian couldn't hide his disappointment, with Zverev showing his class by crossing over the net and consoling his distraught opponent.

The heartbreaking scenes left tennis fans gutted for the popular Italian, who was playing in his just his second season-ending tournament for the top eight men's players in the world.

“The atmosphere was one of the best I felt ever in my life and that’s why it feels so bad right now,” Berrettini said afterwards.

"The worst thing that could have happened happened.”

Berrettini, this year’s Wimbledon finalist, was treated by a trainer during a medical timeout. Then he played one more point before calling it quits.

“I don’t know what it is,” said Berrettini, who was also slowed by injuries last year. 

“I really hope that it’s not that (serious) but it was impossible to keep playing.”

Zverev saved two set points at 5-6 in a long first set, with the crowd erupting into soccer stadium chants whenever Berrettini won big points.

Jannik Sinner in line to replace Matteo Berrettini

Fellow Italian Jannik Sinner is the first alternate and looks set to replace Berrettini for the next two group matches.

Berrettini is slated to play on Italy's team in the Davis Cup finals - also in Turin - the week after the ATP Finals.

“Tomorrow with my team and the doctors I’ll do some checks,” Berrettini said. 

"I really hope it’s not something that keeps me from playing.”

In the day's other match, strong serving and consistent baseline play propelled US Open champion Daniil Medvedev to a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 win over first-time qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.

Seen here, Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates his victory over Poland's Hubert Hurkacz at the ATP Finals.
Russia's Daniil Medvedev was too good for Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in his opening ATP Finals match. Pic: Getty

Medvedev, the defending champion at the year-end tournament for the top eight players, served 15 aces and didn’t face a single break point against the seventh-seeded Hurkacz, who beat him in five sets at Wimbledon this year.

Medvedev attributed his strong serving performance to conditions he called the fastest he’s ever experienced on tour.

“I don’t think it’s the surface itself because (the) surface probably is exactly the same as in London,” the Russian said, referring to the previous tournament host. "I think it’s a combination of air, which is really dry here, and I think the ball goes very fast through the air, the balls itself, which are quite fast balls, and the court.

“I was barely under pressure on my serve against a great returner,” Medvedev added. “And same for me, I had just two games where I had break points."

with agencies

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