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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Rome took another home hit today.

Matteo Berrettini, who recently battled tonsillitis, officially withdrew from Rome today.

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Berrettini joins world No. 2 and Italian Davis Cup hero Jannik Sinner in pulling out of the Eternal City.

The 95th-ranked Italian, who won his first ATP title in nearly two years in Marrakech last month, was gutted meeting the media in Rome today to announce his withdrawal. 

"I'm not ready to perform and to give my best on court," Berrettini said. "I tried everything because this tournament is extra special for me. I have to put away my heart, I would say, use my brain a little bit more, think about what's most important for me, which is my health and not getting injured again, not being away from the courts for months potentially.

"It's with a lot of sadness that I have to pull out. Just think about this tournament for 2025 and hopefully nothing is going to happen. Maybe wish that's something is going to happen so nothing is going to happen. Extra sad again for me pulling out."

A 2020 Rome quarterfinalist, Berrettini hasn't played his home tournament since 2021 when he reached the round of 16 losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

A run of injury and illness have plagued the 28-year-old Berrettini to the point he sometimes wonders if he's a victim of voodoo.

"Sometimes I think there's some voodoo ritual going on against me (laughs), an obsession," Berrettini joked. "Then the rational part takes over. It's very difficult because like for all of us, in all jobs, in all the things we do, you tend to make a plan.

"We had decided to stop to play Munich, to prepare well for Madrid and Rome. Then the plan fell apart. It's difficult to make a plan, feel good, and then fall back down. You lose a little confidence. You end up wondering not how you will play but if you will play. And changing drastically your approach to a tournament is what tires you out the most."

Limited to seven matches this season, the 95th-ranked Berrettini said coping with a rash of injuries can be tiring at times, but he's trying to keep a clear head and his committed to a healthy comeback.

"You lose a lot of energy keeping yourself under control, taking medicine, seeing how you are one day and the next," Berrettini said. "Sometimes I feel exhausted by this situation.

"Then I stop for a moment, clear my mind, and think that I'm willing to face all this because playing is what I like to do. And playing here especially. So I make an effort and I will continue to do so."  

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty