The dawn of a champion: how Jannik Sinner became a tennis star

The young Italian was only 7 years old when he chose the crossroads of his life, between tennis and skiing

by Lorenzo Ciotti
The dawn of a champion: how Jannik Sinner became a tennis star
© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport

It all started in 2008, in a splendid setting, which is Sesto Pusteria, an alpine village where 2000 souls live. A little Jannik Sinner was only 7 years old. Red hair, behivior - someone he knows tells us - a little sh and a non-trivial choice ahead.

After having achieved good results at a national level as a skier, winning some important trophies, Jannik spoke to his father Hanspeter, explaining to him: "I don't ski anymore, I want to be a tennis player."

Even as friends and family have said, little Jannik spent afternoons studying, skiing, waiting to understand if his father would give him permission to train on the Moso tennis court.

"He was a child who thought a lot," his parents said. Probably, when he was little, Sinner created unimaginable scenarios in his mind and understood that he wanted to be special. At 13 he entrusted himself to Riccardo Piatti, moving to Liguria, specifically to Bordighera.

The down of a champion

As the days passed, Sinner grew up while always remaining faithful to his ideals. Humility, work, a willing heart, low profile and awareness of his own means, which allowed him to face criticism with the confidence and maturity of someone who knows his own value and knows what he is doing.

One of his elementary school classmates explained, as also reported by Tennis World Italy, said: "Janik's way of dreaming was serious."

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner© Darrian Traynor / Stringer Getty Images Sport

And it's difficult to think if Sinner, when he chose tennis, had already imagined winning the Australian Open at the age of 22, becoming the only Italian tennis player to win this tournament in men's singles!

The young Jannik became the third Italian in the men's singels capable of winning a Grand Slam tournament, after Nicola Pietrangeli and Adriano Panatta, the first to triumph in Melbourne. The fifth Italian ever, if we also consider the recent triumphs in the women's singles of Francesca Schiavone at the Roland Garros and Flavia Pennetta, in the all-Italian final played at the 2015 US Open.

Almost 48 years after the success achieved by Panatta at the Roland Garros, Italy can smile and welcome home a Major who has been missing for too, too long in the men's singles of the ATP Tour.

Jannik Sinner