On Monday Roger Federer trained in Rome in a secret place, probably near the Lungo Tevere in a tennis club, with the 17-year-old Jannik Sinner who won his maiden Masters 1000 match on Sunday over Steve Johnson. "I practiced with him yesterday, Andreas Seppi today" said Federer.
"So it's true, I practiced with both generations. Yeah, I think Sinner is a good player. I practiced with him outside of Monaco after the Laureus Awards last year in February. I saw him when he was young. He made some nice improvements, obviously gotten stronger.
He seems like a good guy. In terms of maybe technique, it's a similar approach to a strong baseline game. I mean, from Sinner we have still so much more to come, whereas Andreas, we know him so very well, we know what to expect.
He's super tough. But both come from similar places. Both are really nice. I think also Riccardo does a nice job of educating the person, not only the player." Federer has gotten off to some quick starts in your matches of late.
Is that something since you were a junior you've been good at? Why do you think you've been able to do that so well, especially of late? "You always try to get off to a good start, but you can't always do it.
Sometimes your opponent is stronger. I think everybody knows how important a good start is for the remainder of the match. I don't think it's something you can necessarily practice. I think a good warmup helps, a good focus, and also being able I think to settle the nerves early helps to play good tennis.
I don't remember going back to my junior days and thinking, I have to start well. It's what your coach tells you before you walk out: Remember, try to start well. You're like: Yeah, I'll try to do that. There's never a guarantee."