Matteo Berrettini has compared Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to basketball legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have dominated men’s tennis for the last 15 years, winning 57 Grand Slam titles between them.
Likewise Jordan, James and Bryant are legends of their sport, and basketball fan Berrettini has drawn comparisons between the trios.
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"The LeBron James of tennis? Nadal, in terms of physicality and why they both exploded [onto the scene] very young," he told La Stampa.
"I would compare Federer to Michael Jordan. Djokovic reminds me of Kobe Bryant, for how he remains cold in difficult situations."
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While Berrettini holds the ‘Big Three’ in high regard, he believes there will be “more balance” in men’s tennis in 2021 and has tipped Daniil Medvedev as the next first-time Grand Slam winner.
Dominic Thiem became the first man outside of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer to win a major since 2016 when he triumphed at the US Open last year.
"We will see more balance," said Berrettini. "They [Djokovic, Nadal and Federer] still have a little more in the Grand Slams, but the others are getting closer.
"Thiem is freed up and Medvedev impressed me when we trained together in London: he could be the next to win a Grand Slam, but many have come close."
Although Berrettini expects the battle at the top to be closer, he holds Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer in high regard, comparing the trio to basketball legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Berrettini starts his 2021 season as the top seed in Antalya, Turkey. He will then head to Melbourne where he will prepare for the Australian Open, which is set to start on February 8.
Matteo Berrettini - Roland Garros 2020
Image credit: Getty Images
Reflecting on the Covid-19 situation, which means players will have to quarantine for two weeks when they arrive in Australia, he said: "The worry is always there, but the desire is stronger otherwise I would not travel.
"Bubbles, quarantines, tests, it's all complicated. Before you had to be careful, now more so, because to get to Australia there are only two spare days, if you miss them then goodbye Australian Open. Let's hope at least that there will be some fans in Melbourne.
"Seeing the empty stadiums has been incredible. Flushing Meadows [New York], but also the Foro Italic [Rome]. The first time I took a plane after lockdown it felt like I was in a zombie movie.
"Among tennis players we are used to hugging each other, the lack of physical contact made a bit of an impression on me. Nothing sensational, but in those situations I realizsd how much I missed direct contact with my friends and fellow tennis players."
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