(Toronto) Jannik Sinner is definitely one of the quietest, smoothest and most polite players on the men’s tour. For these reasons, it is also one of the most popular. And that’s why it stands out among its competitors.
There was a time when every ATP tournament felt like a gentlemen’s meeting. This era somewhat disappeared with the departure of Roger Federer and the decline of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. For almost two decades, athletes have been true ambassadors for sports. They were at the service of their discipline with their smiles, their courtesy and their class.
Jannik Sinner, like some other young players, should be noted, is part of this long and glorious tradition of sporting servants, who can make headlines without breaking a racket, garlanding an official, challenging a shot or show. a star player.
There are several strong and fragile characters in there top 10 global. This remark was made by Sinner, ranked 8ea barely concealed chuckle.
Meanwhile, he was signing autographs on balls, caps and rackets in the media center at Sobeys Stadium on the York University campus.
The red-haired Italian has remained the same since the start of his rise to number 8 in the world. Like that it is possible to achieve a certain status without denaturation.
“It’s not difficult because after all, I am who I am. If people love me, so the best; otherwise, I can’t help it,” he said quietly, Sharpie marker in hand.
“In my head, I’m just Jannik,” he added. My natural personality gives me a lot of happiness now. In the position I’m in, I just have to be myself and stay true to my personality. It’s beautiful. »
Feet on the ground
Sinner grew up in a village of less than 4,000 people in northeastern Italy. Where nature is a close neighbor and humbly spread like leaves in autumn.
He admits, they were part of this circus, or this forest, which is the ATP circuit is “sometimes complicated”. During our discussion, he was heading for his eleventh interview of the day. To fill the time between them, he made others. So it is every week, every time players land in a new city.
The sound of doors, metal stairs and fans asking him for selfies as he walked did not stop him from continuing the discussion. Well established in there top 10 since April, the great right managed to keep the course in one way: “You have to believe in yourself more than anyone. »
Being near the top of the pyramid doesn’t just mean more favorable tables and more flirtatious wallets. It also brings pressure and expectations, in addition to inevitable disappointment. And the fall can be brutal. “If you don’t believe in yourself, you will fall immediately. »
Sinner, then dressed in a gray tracksuit and black jogging pants in the colors of his golden crochet sponsor, sometimes finds it hard to believe how meteoric his rise has been.
He was raised with skiing in the winter and a snowshoe in the summer. Even if he saw himself one day performing on the biggest stage in the world, under the snow or in the sun, it was difficult to conceive it, because he had no point of reference.
Today, wherever he is, he has to face stares and cameras. “At least, even if you dream about it, it’s hard to believe that you can really achieve it. I thought to myself, “I will be able to, but there will be a lot of work to do.” But you have to believe in it and especially sacrifice a lot to reach such a level, and that’s what I did. »
He doesn’t have the charisma of a Daniil Medvedev, the looks of a Stéfanos Tsitsipás or the eloquence of a Run Holger, but he doesn’t have the wisdom or rigor of a 21-year-old. He navigates between his various obligations as a veteran.
More most of all, it plays like it belongs on the circuit. nonetheless, there are only two players younger than him in there head 15.
He claimed a title this season, in Montpellier, the seventh of his career, in addition to reaching two finals, including one at the Masters 1000 in Miami.
On the field, especially in major tournaments, he is more and more consistent, but, above all, more sure of himself.
“There are visualization techniques for everyone and mine is quite simple: I must imagine myself becoming the best in the world if I want. If you believe you can do it, you must manifest it in some way. Every day, you must love what you do and believe in it,” he explained once he arrived on the catwalk.
His goal is therefore to steal the top of the ladder from Carlos Alcaraz. He is “still not satisfied” with his ranking, because his goal is to go beyond his eighth position, but he believes that he is already “better than a year ago”.
When he comes to the top, because he knows it will happen, he will be able to rejoice in what happened to him while remaining himself.