"It will not easy. Botic van de Zandschulp is a tough opponent. I don't look further at the scoreboard, I focus on the first round. I think I'll play on Wednesday, so I still have some time to prepare for the match. Playing indoors is totally different. Botic is a very good player, I respect him a lot.
The crowd will clearly be for him, but there will be a good atmosphere and it will be a pleasure for me to be part of it. I usually like to play indoors, the pitch here is quite fast. We'll both try to serve as best we can, then we'll see how it goes."
With these words, Jannik Sinner analyzed the first round match of the ABN AMRO, ATP 500 tournament which will be played in Rotterdam.
At the press conference, the Italian talked about the criticism he received last season for missing the group stage of the Davis Cup, explaining how difficult it is to always please everyone.
"They are there and will always be there, you can't make everyone happy. You have to face them with the right mentality. In 2022 I had lost to Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open in five sets. We finished late then I went to Davis but I hadn't played at 100%. This time the situation was not the same but similar. I thought it was best to let the others play to be ready at the end of the season. In Malaga I gave 100%," explained Sinner.
Jannik will play his first tournament as a Slam champion facing the same opponent he defeated in the first round in Melbourne on January 14th, van de Zandschulp. As happened at the Australian Open, the Italian will have the chance to make history in Rotterdam too. The goal is to leave the ABN AMRO Open as ATP No.3: it would be a new Italian record in the Open Era.
In fact, only Nicola Pietrangeli reached this position when the current ATP ranking had not yet come into force. To achieve the goal and overcome Daniil Medvedev, who preferred to take a short break after the Australian final, Sinner will have to win the tournament.
Sinner has had a fantastic start to the season. The young Italian talent continued in the wake of last season and started the year in the best possible way. Jannik brought a Slam back to Italy, he became the first Italian in history to win the Australian Open and he did it after beating almost all the best tennis players in the tournament.
After a few weeks of rest, Jannik will return to the field as number 1 seed in the ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam. Defender Daniil Medvedev, ATO No.3 and finalist in Melbourne, will miss the ABN AMRO due to a foot problem.
As we said at the beginning of the article, Sinner, in the event of victory in the tournament, would become ATP No.3 and this would be the historical best ranking for an Italian in the Open era. For him the draw is not easy, although it evokes interesting memories.
In the first round, Jannik will face Dutch tennis player Botic Van de Zandschulp. In the second round, Sinner could face Gael Monfils, favored on paper over the incoming qualifier.
Possibly, in the quarter-finals, Jannik could face a tennis player who is always treacherous on these surfaces, such as Alexander Bublik, undoubtedly favored over Borna Coric and Milos Raonic. Then the possible semi-final where Jannik could meet his great friend Hubert Hurkacz, all tennis players with a great serve and rather complicated to challenge. In the final Sinner could face one of Andrey Rublev, Holger Rune or possibly Grigor Dimitrov.
Santopadre expressed on Jannik's path and team
Vincenzo Santopadre, former coach of Matteo Berrettini until a few months ago, spoke on the podcast Talk on SuperTennis. Naturally, among the topics he addressed we couldn't fail to mention Jannik Sinner.
"Tennis is characterized by the fact that there are tournaments that follow one another with impressive speed. It seems like a lifetime has already passed since his triumph in Melbourne given that next week he will already be back on the court in Rotterdam. In this sport you always have to look ahead and you have to work," he told.
For the team that is following Jannik Sinner, formed as coaches by the duo Simone Vagnozzi-Darren Cahill, Santopadre has words of praise.
"To date this is the best possible team for him, we can see it, we understand it, we can perceive it. The fact to highlight is that no one wants to be a phenomena. They know how to manage success, there is humility and a desire to work. Team members have the same values as him and this improves performance,"
Regarding Sinner's prospects for 2024 after the success in Melbourne, Santopadre said: "I don't want to get into a discussion about whether he will win another Slam or not because there should be no pressure put on him but the strength of greats like Jannik is that they understand what it has to be done and then they act."