Now that the Novak Djokovic visa saga has blown over this year's Australian Open, true tennis fans can now turn their attention to the gripping on-court drama that first drew them to the sport. For instance: No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini winning a frequently interrupted first-round match and immediately thanking a popular anti-diarrheal.
"Imodium! Grazie!" wrote the Italian hunk after a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over Brandon Nakashima on Monday. The big-serving Berrettini had taken a medical timeout in the second set, a bathroom break after the third, and another one during the fourth, but managed to stay solid in the end.
The 20-year-old Nakashima, who broke out last summer and steadily rose to his current rank of No. 68, is too consistent a player to have been beaten by a person with untreated diarrhea. It was only right for the Italian to credit the medication.
"I don't know if I can say this on TV," said a coy Berrettini after his win, "but ... I've been feeling sick with my stomach, let's say that. It was really hard to play, especially the third and fourth set. We were playing great tennis, great match against Brandon. I try my best, I tell myself to fight, to do my best." May we all triumph similarly in such circumstances.