#NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner was completely calm Thursday evening despite losing his fourth consecutive match. After his opening defeat at the Truist Atlanta Open, the 19-year-old Italian made clear that a few bad results should not lead to panic.
“How do I stay positive? It’s very easy. I’m 19 years old, turning 20 this year, which I think a lot of people forget,” Sinner said. “For me personally, it doesn’t matter if I win now at 20 or at 23. I think our goal is to become a great player when I am around 23, 24 years old. The process we are doing is [for the] longterm.”
In Sinner’s mind, he has “had a couple of great results. I don’t think I’ve won something big.” That is a humble comment from a player who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami earlier this year. By doing so, he became just the fourth teenager to make the Miami championship match, joining World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and former World No. 1s Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.
The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion is always thinking of maximising his potential, and whether he is winning or losing, the teen is learning.
“[I am] playing tennis a lot, enjoying playing tennis, working physically and mentally to be in the best possible position when I am around 23 years old. I don’t know if it’s going to be when I am 23 or 22 or maybe already next week, you never know,” Sinner said. “But what I think is very important [is] to think back where I come from. The people who stayed very close to me know how important tennis is for me, which I think [will be] my life for the next hopefully 20 years.
“[I am] just trying to enjoy every journey. It just started, so hopefully I can still show some good tennis in the future.”
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Although Sinner lost against Australian Christopher O’Connell in the second round on his Atlanta debut, he found positives in the defeat. The teen had not played a match since losing in the first round at Wimbledon last month, and he has been working hard on his fitness and serve. Sinner won 81 per cent of his first-serve points and only faced one break point against the qualifier.
“Today, I was not serving so bad to be honest,” Sinner said. “In general, I think I was practising well. I didn’t put away one single practice session. I was always focused and obviously the results you cannot see in one or two tournaments. It’s going out in a couple of matches and hopefully I’m going to win some matches here in the U.S. swing, which will give me confidence and then after I’ll start to play my tennis, trying to get 100 per cent out of my potential.”
Sinner is not done in Atlanta. The Italian shook off his singles loss on the doubles court with American Reilly Opelka, as they advanced to the semi-finals with a straight-sets victory against Treat Huey of the Philippines and Benoit Paire of France. No matter what happens the rest of the week, Sinner will continue to try to make the most of it.
“First-round matches are not easy. I’m trying to have a couple of doubles matches as well, which I think can help me,” Sinner said. “Hopefully I can play better in Washington.”