A warm clap welcomed Jannik Sinner in the main press room of the Rome Foro Italico. His maiden Masters 1000 main draw match win was a remarkable one, as he defeated Steve Johnson in three sets, 1-6 6-1 7-5. The Central Stadium was not definitely packed, which is normal on the first days of the tournament, but the crowd supported him from the beginning to the end.
"In the beginning it was not easy because there was a lot of pressure and many people who expected something, then I went to the bathroom (laughter), I took a bit more time and the match changed even if in the beginning of the second set I was struggling a bit especially on serve.
But it was thank to the crowd that I went through, it helped me a lot." On how he approached the match, Sinner added: "We watched some of his games, the way he plays, he hits a lot of slice backhand and as soon as I found my game things got better."
At 17 years of age a result like that "is not something normal, it surprises me too. Then I may be a calmer person than the other ones but I go through emotions inside myself. I came here having played many matches in a tournament before, I arrived the night before and the first pre-qualies match was not easy.
In the beginning, I did not even want to come here and sometimes things happen by chance. I think I did not even play a perfect match, I have to understand some things at those levels." Sinner will now face the 20-year-old Athens native Stefanos Tsitsipas probably on Wednesday.