Jannik Sinner has been a teenager to watch in the men's tennis in the last two seasons. Kicking off the 2019 season from outside the top-500, Jannik stormed over the rest of the field to crack the top-100 in November, earning a perfect starting position for 2020.
Sinner conquered the first Challenger title on an indoor hard court in Bergamo in February last year, lifting the Futures crown a week later, another on the fast surface. By the end of the year, Jannik claimed two more Challenger crowns, made a Major debut at the US Open and reached the first ATP semi-final at Antwerp's ATP 250 event.
Entering the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan with a wild card and as the youngest competitor, Jannik left more experienced players behind conquer the title, focusing on the ATP events in 2020 and gathering experience in this plagued season.
Heading to Roland Garros with six wins from 14 encounters, Sinner found his A-game on his Parisian debut, beating four rivals to advance into the quarter-final as the first player born in 2001 at this level. Jannik became the first quarter-finalist on Roland Garros debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005, facing the great Spaniard in the battle for the semis and suffering a straight-sets loss.
Tim Henman said he liked Jannil's gameplan against the mighty opponent, staying aggressive and keeping the points on his racquet. The Briton praised the young Italian's development, predicting he should enter the top-10 in the next 12 months.
The youngster was there to fight against the king of clay in the opening two sets, only to suffer a 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat in two hours and 48 minutes.
Tim Henman believes Jannik Sinner will be a top-10 contender in a year.
Jannik proved to be a much more formidable rival than Nadal's previous four opponents in Paris, challenging a great champion in the latest Roland Garros finish ever, as they stayed on the court until almost 1:30 am.
The young gun had a 6-5 advantage in the opener, serving for the set but giving it away, as Nadal reached the tie break and claimed it 7-4. They stayed neck and neck until the ninth game of the second set when Rafa moved in front, gathering boost and never looking back in the third.
Sinner will play the ATP 500 event in St. Petersburg next week if he recovers in time, seeking another deep run on his beloved indoor hard surface. "Jannik came out on the court with a clear game plan; he was going to be aggressive, knowing he couldn't expect Rafa to beat himself.
Jannik was incredibly impressive and had that break in the first set. But that's one of Rafa's great strengths when he's behind on clay; he breaks 60% of the time on the next service game. Sinner has been developing well over the last 18 months, despite not playing official matches for almost six months.
He won the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan last November, and his game is improving all the time, although I still think there are areas he can do better. His first serve is improving, his movement is fine, but I think he can get faster and stronger. This time next year, I expect him to be in the top-10, he's that good a prospect," Tim Henman said.