In some 11 months, Jannik Sinner has passed a long way from outside the top-500 into the top-80, establishing himself as one of the youngsters to beat on the Tour at the age of 18. Super talented Italian became the youngest player since Richard Gasquet with three Challenger titles last year, reaching his first ATP semi-final and lifting the Next Gen trophy in Milan in November.
The first two Next Gen champions Hyeon Chung and Stefanos Tsitsipas would reach the semi-final of the Australian Open next January but Sinner doesn't have such expectations, reminding he is younger than both and that he still needs a couple of years to reach that level.
After two early losses at the beginning of the season, Jannik came to Melbourne where he had a chance to work with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and other players from the top, shaping up his game ahead of the first-round clash with a qualifier Max Purcell on Tuesday.
After a breakthrough season, Jannik is aware of how tough it is going to be to repeat and improve that in 2020, although he seems ready to give his best in every match and learn from every defeat en route to the place in the top-20, possessing incredible ball-striking abilities and the spirit of a true champion.
"I think both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hyeon Chung have done a great job here, especially the beginning of the season. It can give you a little bit of confidence, winning this tournament or playing better at the end of the season.
I think I'm still a little bit younger than those two guys, it's a little bit different," Sinner said. "I don't know if this year is going to be the momentum, or maybe two or three years after, as I think I still need more time; after two weeks in Melbourne, we will know everything.
My season didn't start as I wanted; I haven't been able to play as many matches as I wished to before Melbourne and that makes things difficult. Still, I think we practiced well, with strong offseason; I feel great on the court, better and better with each day.
Of course, it is a little bit different when you play matches but I think I can reach the desired form; I had practice runs with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev. This year is not going to be so easy for me.
I think the focus is always on trying to give your best on the court, on improving your game day after day; that's our main goal."