London [UK], June 29 (ANI): Matteo Berrettini, the 2021 finalist, has withdrawn from Wimbledon after testing positive for COVID-19.
Twenty-four hours after the men's singles lost former finalist Marin Cilic to a positive COVID-19 test, the 2021 runner-up and recent Queen's champion Matteo Berrettini shocked the tennis world with identical news on Tuesday.
The Italian No.8 seed, who had won back-to-back grass titles during his Wimbledon preparations, said he was "heartbroken" to have to miss out. "The dream is over for this year but I will come back stronger."
"I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result," wrote the 26-year-old via Instagram.
"I have had flu symptoms and been isolating the last few days. Despite symptoms not being severe, I decided it was important to take another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament."
"I have no words to describe the extreme disappointed I feel. The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger. Thank you for the support," he added.
Berrettini will be replaced in the draw by Swede Elias Ymer, who will face Cristian Garin in the first round at the grass-court Grand Slam in London. The tournament posted its own message of support for the Italian via Twitter: "We'll miss you, Matteo - come back stronger in 2023."
Berrettini did not play for three months after undergoing hand surgery in late March, but the Italian has been unstoppable since returning to Tour just three weeks ago. He won the Stuttgart Open before retaining his Queen's Club Championships crown in London, form which made him a strong contender for another deep run at SW19.
At Queen's Berrettini defeated world No.38 Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-4 in the final. The Italian also became the first player in the Open Era to lift the trophy in his first two appearances at the tournament.
Berrettini is the first player to win consecutive Queen's Club titles since Andy Murray between 2015 and 2016. Every other player in history to defend the Queen's title has gone on to become world No.1 and win a Grand Slam title.
The Italian boasts a 20-1 winning record on grass since the start of 2021 and is unbeaten this year having taken the Stuttgart Open title. He's won three out of his last four grass events, losing only to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2021 final. (ANI)