Jannik Sinner is causing quite a stir 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, broke into the world’s top ten and reached the Grand Slam quarter-finals twice.
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In the last installment in the series Players vote on Eurosport.de The current number 13 ranked world number one explains how he thinks success has affected him, what his goals are for 2022 and why he would like to wake up as Roger Federer for a day.
by Jannik Sinner
Hello dear tennis friends,
When he asked me, “Where do you want to be at the end of the year?” I should always smile. The outside view of how tennis players live and think often differs from reality – at least for me. My answer is that it is not a matter of global ranking. In fact, I don’t like talking about my position in the ATP rankings – I’ve never done that and I don’t think I ever will. I prefer to set myself 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 twenty you cannot be fully mature in this regard.
If I could wake up and be a different tennis player for a day, I’d like to be Roger Federer because of his overall group. He can do everything and has solutions for everything he encounters on the pitch.
Roger Federer at the 2021 French Open
Image credit: Eurosport
The Mistaken: “Initially you never know if you have the level”
Waking up as Roger Federer is of course a utopia, but I think striving for perfection gives me focus on becoming a more complete player. I’m not saying you’ll suddenly see me play serve and volley or shot, but maybe one day I’d like to find myself in a position where I can find my own solutions.
In short, my ultimate goal is to become a more complete player – and I want to achieve that by the end of the year, which is more important to me than a certain world ranking.
When I think back to how I was two years ago, I feel like everything is completely different now – in a good way. When I was 18 and played for the first time in a championship on the tour, I knew nothing. I didn’t know what was going to happen, how the crowd would react or how my opponent would play.
When you start out, you’ll never be sure if you have the level to play there. Today, however, the situation is different. I have developed very quickly knowing very well that my opponents have studied my game to discover my tactics and my strengths. Now I know I have the quality to play against anyone.
Yannick Sener yells after reaching the 2022 Australian Open quarter-finals
Image credit: Eurosport
Sinner: “I stayed true to myself”
I also know there is pressure, especially in Italy, where my expectations are very high. But I see pressure as a privilege. I’m the first person to put pressure on myself and I want to win no matter what is said and written about me – I don’t see that as a problem.
Sometimes I don’t even notice what is being said or written about me. But when I do, I accept that this is part of the game and that it is inevitable. I don’t see that as a problem – I just accept it. Of course it’s hard to read or hear things about yourself when you’re not having 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 in my career, I feel the same person I was two years ago.
Recognition and life off the field are obviously different, but I haven’t changed, I’m the same person I’ve always been. I know where I come from and I know who I am. I know who my family are, who my parents are, and who I work with every day.
I’ve always done what I wanted and stayed true to myself. For example, when I stopped skiing, I just did it and got into tennis. Now I come back to my life and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do what pleases me.
The Mistaken: ‘Spending too much time on social media costs mental strength’
But what has changed is my phone book. I get a lot of messages about different things, which is why I’ve learned that it’s impossible to keep up with everything. A lot of energy is simply wasted as a result. So I tried to be selective and prioritize close communication with the people I care about.
The same goes for social media, which I try to limit a bit. Of course, these are important because they are an integral part of life as an athlete. However, a lot of time on social media costs precious energy, especially in the mental field, and mental strength in tennis is everything.
For me, closing was the perfect bootcamp to try and maintain my mental strength. After two difficult years during the Corona pandemic, things are starting to get better. The people are back there and the fans are finally back in the tournaments. They could definitely be the deciding factor in the match.
However, this was not an easy time for anyone and the impact on mental health remains an important issue. There are a lot of guys out there who still don’t open up – whether it’s with parents or friends. In my opinion, there is still a lot to do – not only in tennis, but in life in general.
A sinner full of anticipation for the match at home in Rome
Let’s get back to sports and especially the clay season: I’ve adapted my game on the rooftop. You need to hit the clay with more spin and angle of play more often. In addition, you have to serve differently because there is no point in serving only by force. But I am satisfied because I have a feeling that I can still learn a lot of things on this surface. The master’s program in Monte Carlo was my first good test and now I’m really looking forward to Rome.
I hope there will be an atmosphere similar to what I experienced in Turin for the ATP Finals. This was really something special. The audience can play a big role. So, if you have the opportunity to play in front of your home audience, take advantage of it. I feel like the great tennis days are waiting for me. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to it.
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