Jannik Sinner arouses sensation on the ATP tour.
At just 20 years old, the Italian already has an impressive track record.
Since starting the tour in 2019, he has won five titles, broken into the world top ten and reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals.
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In the latest part of the series Players’ vote on Eurosport.de The current world No. 13 explains how he thinks success has affected him, what goals he has for 2022 and why he would like to wake up as Roger Federer for one day.
By Jannik Sinner
Hello dear tennis friends,
when I am asked, “Where do you want to be at the end of the year?” I always have to smile. The outside view of how tennis players live and think is often very different from reality – at least for me. My answer is that it is not a matter of world ranking. In fact, I really do not like to talk about my position on the ATP rankings – I have never done that, and I never think I will ever do that. I prefer to set goals in a broader sense.
For example, I would like to see myself grow physically because I know I still have a lot of leeway in that regard. I also want to develop mentally, because at the age of 20 you can not be completely mature in that regard.
If I could wake up and be a different tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer because of his overall package. He knows everything and has solutions for everything he encounters on the field.
Roger Federer at the French Open 2021
Photo credit: Eurosport
Sins: “In the beginning you never know if you have the level”
Waking up as Roger Federer is, of course, a utopia, but I believe that striving for perfection gives me the focus on becoming a more complete player. I’m not saying you will suddenly see me play serve and volley or slice, but maybe one day I would like to find myself in a position where I might as well find my own solutions.
In short, my ultimate goal is to become a more complete player – and I want to achieve that before the end of the year, which is much more important to me than a specific world ranking.
When I think back to where I was two years ago, everything feels very different now – in the good way. When I was 18 and playing for the first time in a tournament on the tour, I did not know anything. I did not know what was going to happen, how the audience would react or how my opponent would play.
When you start, you are never sure if you have the level to play there at all. Today, however, the situation is different. I developed very fast and I know very well that my opponents have studied my game to find out my tactics and strengths. Now I know I have the quality to play against anyone.
Jannik Sinner screams after reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open 2022
Photo credit: Eurosport
Sins: “I remained true to myself”
I also know that there is pressure, especially in Italy, where expectations of me are very high. But I see the pressure as a privilege. I’m the first to put pressure on myself and want to win, no matter how much is said and written about me – I do not see that as a problem.
Sometimes I do not even notice what is being said or written about me. But when I do, I accept that it’s part of the game, and it’s inevitable. I do not see that as a problem – I just accept it. Of course, it’s harder to read or hear things about yourself when you’ve not had your best day on the field, but the solution is simple: I work with my team that keeps me on track.
I think what’s also important in this context is that despite the many changes that have taken place in my career, I feel like I’m the same person I was two years ago. .
The recognition and life off the field is obviously different, but I have not changed, I am the same guy I have always been. I know where I come from and I know who I am. I know who my family is, who my parents are, and who I work with every day.
I have always done what I wanted and been true to myself. For example, when I gave up skiing, I just did it and started playing tennis. Now I look back on my life and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do what pleases me.
Sins: “Too much time on social media costs mental strength”
What has changed, though, is my phone book. I get a lot of messages about different things, and therefore I have learned that it is impossible to keep up with everything. Too much energy is simply wasted as a result. So I have tried to be selective and prioritize close contact with the people I care about.
The same goes for social media, which I try to limit a bit. These are of course important as they are an integral part of life as an athlete. Nevertheless, too much time on social media costs valuable energy, especially in the mental realm, and in tennis, mental strength is everything.
For me, lockdown was the perfect training camp to try to maintain my mental strength. After two difficult years during the corona pandemic, things are looking up. People are getting out there again and fans are finally returning to tournaments. They can definitely be the deciding factor in a match.
However, it has not been an easy time for anyone and the impact on mental health remains an important issue. There are many guys who still do not open up – be it with parents or friends. In my opinion, there is still a lot to do – not only in tennis, but in life in general.
Sins full of anticipation for the home game in Rome
Let’s return to the sport and especially to the clay court season: I have adapted my game to the surface. You need to hit clay with more rotation and angle play more often. In addition, one must earn differently because it is of no use only to serve by force. But I’m happy because I have the feeling that I can still learn a lot of things on this surface. The Masters in Monte Carlo was a good first test for me and now I am really looking forward to Rome.
I hope there will be a similar vibe that I experienced in Turin at the ATP finals. It really was something special. The audience can play a big role. So if you have the opportunity to play in front of your home crowd, take advantage of it. I feel like big tennis days are ahead of me. I do not know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.
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