Jannik Sinner makes a stir on the ATP tour.
At just 20, the Italian already has an impressive track record.
Since starting the tour in 2019, he has won five titles, entered the world top ten and reached two Grand Slam quarter-finals.
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In the last episode of the series The voice of the players on Eurosport.de The current number 13 of the world explains how he thinks success has affected him, what goals he has for 2022 and why he would like to wake up like Roger Federer for a day.
By Jannik Sinner
Hello dear friends of tennis,
when they ask me: “Where do you want to be at the end of the year?” I always have to smile. The external 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 question of world rankings. In fact, I don’t really like talking about my position in the ATP rankings, I’ve never done it and I don’t think I ever will. 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 this regard. I also want to develop mentally, because at 20 you cannot be fully mature in this sense.
If I could wake up and be a different player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer because of his overall package. He can do it all and has solutions for everything he encounters on the pitch.
Roger Federer at the 2021 French Open
Photo credit: Eurosport
Sinner: “At first you never know if you have the level”
Waking up like Roger Federer is obviously a utopia, but I believe that only the pursuit of perfection gives me the focus to become a more complete player. I’m not saying that all of a sudden you will see me play serve and volley or slice, but maybe someday I’d like to be in a position where I might as well find my own solutions.
In short, my real goal is to become a more complete player – and I want to achieve that by the end of the year, which is much more important to me than a specific world rankings.
When I think back to where I was two years ago, it all seems very different now, in a good way. When I was 18 and first played in a tour tournament, I knew nothing. I didn’t know what would 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. Today, however, the situation is different. I have developed very quickly and I know very well that my opponents have studied my game to discover my tactics and my strengths. Now I know I have the qualities to play against anyone.
Jannik Sinner screams after reaching the quarter-finals at the 2022 Australian Open
Photo credit: Eurosport
Sinner: “I have remained true to myself”
I also know that there is pressure, especially in Italy, where the expectations of me are very high. But I see the pressure as a privilege. I am the first person to put pressure on myself and I want to win, no matter how much people say and write about me, I don’t see it as a problem.
Sometimes I don’t even notice what people say or write about me. But when I do, I accept that it’s part of the game and it’s inevitable. I don’t see it as a problem, I just accept it. Sure it’s harder to read or hear about yourself when you haven’t had your best day on the pitch, but the solution is simple: I work with my team that keeps me on track.
I think what is also important in this context is that, despite the many changes that have taken place in my career, I feel like I am the same person as two years ago.
Recognition and life off the pitch are obviously different, but I haven’t changed, I’m the same guy I always have. 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’ve always done what I wanted and have stayed true to myself. For example, when I stopped skiing, I did and started playing tennis. Now I look back on my life and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do what I enjoy.
Sinner: “Too much time on social media costs mental strength”
What has changed, however, is my column. I get a lot of messages about different things, which is why I have learned that it is impossible to keep up with everything. As a result, too much energy is simply wasted. So I 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. Of course, these are important as they are an integral part of an athlete’s life. However, too much time on social media costs valuable energy, especially in the mental area, and in tennis, mental strength is everything.
For me, the lockdown was the perfect retreat to try and preserve my mental strength. After two difficult years during the corona pandemic, things are looking up. People are coming back out there and fans are finally returning to tournaments. They can definitely be the deciding factor in a match.
However, it hasn’t been an easy time for anyone, and the impact on mental health remains an important issue. There are many young people who still do not open up, both with their parents and with friends. In my opinion there is still a lot to do, not just in tennis, but in life in general.
Sinner full of anticipation for the home match in Rome
Let’s go back to sport and above all to the clay season: I adapted my game to the surface. You have to hit the clay with more rotation and angular play more often. Also, you have to serve differently because there is no point in serving only by force. But I am satisfied because I have the feeling that I can still learn many things on this surface. The Montecarlo Master was a good first test for me and now I can’t wait for Roma to arrive.
I hope there will be an atmosphere similar to the one I experienced in Turin at the ATP finals. It was truly something special. The public can play an important role. So if you have the opportunity to play in front of your home crowd, you need to take advantage of it. I feel great tennis days are ahead of me. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.
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