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.