- Berrettini was considered a title contender for Wimbledon
- Danka Kovinic withdrew because of a lower back injury
- Berrettini was scheduled to play 44th-ranked Cristian Garin
Matteo Berrettini, the 2021 runner-up has pulled out of the Wimbledon Championships 2022 after he tested positive for Covid-19. Hours before his first-round match on Tuesday, Berrettini confirmed his withdrawal in a post on his Instagram page.
Berrettini was scheduled to play 44th-ranked Cristian Garin in the opening round but will no longer take part in the Grand Slam tournament.
Berrettini said that he was “heartbroken” and has been isolating “the last few days” after experiencing flu-like symptoms and the All England Club confirmed his withdrawal from the tournament.
“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,” Berrettini wrote in his post, which included a black-and-white photo of him hitting a serve at Wimbledon.
“I have no words to describe the extreme disappointment I feel. The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger,” he said.
The eighth-seeded Italian spent time practicing with Rafael Nadal on Centre Court last week and also crossed paths with Novak Djokovic there. Berrettini was replaced in the field by Elias Ymer, who lost in qualifying but now will take on Garín.
Marin Cilic, the 2017 Wimbledon finalist was the first to withdraw due to illness and Berrettini became the second high-profile player to pull out of the Wimbledon.
After being cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, then setting up a bubble-type environment and restricting attendance in 2021 to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wimbledon has returned to normal in every way, with no mask-wearing requirement, full crowds and the famous Queue back in action.
Berrettini was considered a title contender for Wimbledon, both because of last year's run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club before losing to Djokovic — and because of his recent form on grass.
“I mean, he is definitely (one of the) top two, three players in the world on grass in the last three years. I mean, his results are testament to that,” Djokovic said on Monday about Berrettini. “Probably, this is his favorite surface. For his game, it's the most suitable surface. So there is a lot of expectations on his side that he should go far in this tournament.”
The 26-year-old Berrettini, who relies on big serves and big forehands, won two tune-up tournaments on the surface this month, going 9-0 at Stuttgart, Germany, and Queen's Club in London.
That was how he returned to action after being sidelined since March because of an operation on his right hand.
In all, since the start of 2019, he is 32-3 on grass. Two of those three losses came against six-time Wimbledon winner Djokovic and eight-time champion Roger Federer.
Another player left the tournament on Tuesday when Danka Kovinic withdrew because of a lower back injury. She was replaced in the field by Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, who faces Sonay Kartal.