There are many factors that can affect success or failure in the Davis Cup. Some are beyond anyone's control. One thing for sure that's key to lifting the trophy is teamwork.
But how to define something referred to so often by captains and players alike?
There’s no one better placed than Matteo Berrettini to demonstrate team spirit. He has travelled to Malaga despite not being fully fit after the foot injury he suffered in Naples a few weeks ago.
"Ours is an individual sport and we tend to think about ourselves and be with our own teams,” he explains.
"In some ways it's a change of mindset, but it's something that brings us a lot and I have to say that now we have a good young group of guys that can be part of the team for several years.
Building a team "requires an effort, but that effort is always worth it because it is good for everyone. Being a team means putting your own needs second to those of the team as a whole".
"When the captain called me a year and a half ago to launch this new project, he told me that the essential thing, his goal above all else, was to create team spirit. I agreed with his ambition.
"In my opinion in the Davis Cup – and we proved it against the United States – it is the most important thing," the Italian added.
When the captain called me a year and a half ago to launch this new project, he told me that the essential thing, his goal above all else, was to create team spirit (Matteo Berrettini)
Berrettini, Italy’s No.2, explains his presence in Malaga: "I have missed the Davis Cup too many times and I wanted to be here. At home, I suffer too much".
He was even training on Friday, still with some signs of pain in his foot, and although he notes, "if it were up to me, I would play even with only one leg", he accepts that "you have to be objective and do what is best for the team. Even if the recovery goes well, the team has shown that it can win," he told the Italian media in Malaga.
The Rome-born player makes no secret of feeling "like a lion in a cage” but says that he’s happy to be here. His role in recent days has been, and will probably continue, as "chief fan. More than anything else I’m here to encourage and support the guys. I’ll also try to give some pointers."
The fact is that this Italian team, even with the highest aspirations for 2022, is working “for the future: Musetti is 20 years old, Sinner 21.... It's a long road, I don't know if we're ready to win yet. But the desire to bring home the trophy is there, and what a way to do it!”
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