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JANNIK SINNER – ‘I WOULD LIKE TO BE ROGER FEDERER FOR A DAY’ – PLAYERS’ VOICE

In a new edition of Players’ Voice, world No. 13 Jannik Sinner shares how he believes his success has impacted him, his goals for 2022 and why he would like to wake up as Roger Federer for a day…

 

 

At just 20 years old, Jannik Sinner has already acquired an impressive bank of achievements. Since starting out on the ATP Tour in 2019, he’s gone on to win five titles, break into the top 10 and reach two Grand Slam quarter-finals.

When I’m asked, ‘Where do you want to be at the end of the year?’, I always have to smile. The outside view on how tennis players live and think is often very different to reality, or at least it is for me. My answer is that it is not a question of ranking. In fact, I really don’t like talking about my ranking – I never have and I don’t think I ever will. More than anything, I like to set goals in a broader sense.

 

 

For example, I would like to see myself grow physically, an aspect I know I have a lot of margin for. And I would like to grow mentally too because at 20 you can’t be complete.
If I could wake up and be another tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer because of his completeness. He can do everything and has all the solutions for anything that comes his way on court.

 

In a new edition of Players’ Voice, world No. 13 Jannik Sinner shares how he believes his success has impacted him, his goals for 2022 and why he would like to wake up as Roger Federer for a day

At just 20 years old, Jannik Sinner has already acquired an impressive bank of achievements. Since starting out on the ATP Tour in 2019, he’s gone on to win five titles, break into the top 10 and reach two Grand Slam quarter-finals.

 

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When I’m asked, ‘Where do you want to be at the end of the year?’, I always have to smile. The outside view on how tennis players live and think is often very different to reality, or at least it is for me. My answer is that it is not a question of ranking. In fact, I really don’t like talking about my ranking – I never have and I don’t think I ever will. More than anything, I like to set goals in a broader sense.

For example, I would like to see myself grow physically, an aspect I know I have a lot of margin for. And I would like to grow mentally too because at 20 you can’t be complete.
If I could wake up and be another tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer because of his completeness. He can do everything and has all the solutions for anything that comes his way on court.

 

 

Waking up as Roger Federer is, of course, a utopia, but I believe that the intention gives me the focus to become a more complete player. I’m not saying you will suddenly see me serving and volleying, or slicing, but maybe one day, I would like to find myself in a position where I’m able to come up with my own solutions just as well. So in short, my real goal is to become a more complete player, and that is what I would like to achieve by the end of the year, as opposed to reaching a certain ranking.
Thinking back to where I was two years ago, everything now feels very different – but different for the better. When I was 18 and first playing on the Tour, I didn’t know anything when I arrived at tournaments. I didn’t know what would happen, what the audience would be like or how my opponent would play.
When you start out, you are never sure that you have the level to be there. But today, the situation is different. My growth has been sudden and I know very well that my opponents have been studying me to understand my tactics and strengths, but now I know I have the game to play

In a new edition of Players’ Voice, world No. 13 Jannik Sinner shares how he believes his success has impacted him, his goals for 2022 and why he would like to wake up as Roger Federer for a day…

 

For example, I would like to see myself grow physically, an aspect I know I have a lot of margin for. And I would like to grow mentally too because at 20 you can’t be complete.
If I could wake up and be another tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer because of his completeness. He can do everything and has all the solutions for anything that comes his way on court

Waking up as Roger Federer is, of course, a utopia, but I believe that the intention gives me the focus to become a more complete player. I’m not saying you will suddenly see me serving and volleying, or slicing, but maybe one day, I would like to find myself in a position where I’m able to come up with my own solutions just as well. So in short, my real goal is to become a more complete player, and that is what I would like to achieve by the end of the year, as opposed to reaching a certain ranking.
Thinking back to where I was two years ago, everything now feels very different – but different for the better. When I was 18 and first playing on the Tour, I didn’t know anything when I arrived at tournaments. I didn’t know what would happen, what the audience would be like or how my opponent would play.
When you start out, you are never sure that you have the level to be there. But today, the situation is different. My growth has been sudden and I know very well that my opponents have been studying me to understand my tactics and strengths, but now I know I have the game to play anyone.
Jannik Sinner roars as he reaches the quarter-finals of the 2022 Australian Open
Jannik Sinner roars as he reaches the quarter-finals of the 2022 Australian Open

Image credit: Getty Images

I also know that this involves pressure, especially in Italy where there are great expectations of me. But I see the pressure as a privilege. I am the first person to put pressure on myself and I am the first person to want to win, so as much as everyone talks and writes about me, I don’t see it as a problem.
Sometimes I won’t even notice what’s being said, but when I do, I accept that it’s part of the game and inevitable. I don’t see it as a problem – I just accept it. Obviously, it’s harder when you see or hear things about you when you haven’t had your best day on the court, but the solution is simple: I work with my team who keep me on track.
I think what is also important is that I feel I am the same person as I was two years ago, despite the changes I’ve experienced in my career. Fame and life off the court are obviously different, but I haven’t changed and I’m the same guy I always have been.
I know where I come from. I know who I am. I know who my family is, who my parents are, and the people that I work with every day. I have always done what I wanted and I have remained true to myself. When I stopped skiing, for example, I just did it and threw myself into tennis. And now I can look at my life and appreciate that I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I like.

 

 

 

What has changed is my phone book! I receive many messages on many things, and I’ve learned that it is impossible to keep up with everything – too much energy will just be lost. So I’ve tried to become selective and prioritise close contact with the people who matter to me. The same thing goes for social media, which I’m trying to limit a bit.
Of course, it’s important as it’s an integral part of life as a sportsperson, but energy is really precious. Too much time on social media costs mental energy, and in tennis, mental energy is everything.
The lockdown was the perfect training ground in terms of trying to preserve your mental energy. After two difficult years, things are improving. People are going out again and fans have finally returned to tournaments, which can definitely act as a decisive weapon in a match. But it wasn’t an easy time for anyone, and the impact it had on mental health remains an important issue.
There are many guys who still don’t open up – whether that’s with parents or friends – so, in my opinion, there is still a lot to do here… not only in tennis but in life more generally too.
Back to my tennis and specifically the clay-court season, I’ve been adapting my game for the surface. You have to look for more rotations and angles, and also serve differently too because always pulling hard is useless. I feel content because I feel that I can still learn many things on this surface. Monte-Carlo was a good initial test for me, and now I’m just very excited for Rome.

 

 

I hope that it’s a similar atmosphere to what I experienced in Turin at the ATP Finals because that was truly special. The public can really play a big part, so if you have the opportunity to play in front of your home fans, you have to take advantage of that. I have a feeling that great tennis days await me, and I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to them.

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