Former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov has advised rising Italian star Jannik Sinner to focus on his improvement and try not to listen the predictions regarding his career. Dimitrov, 29, was one of the promising players of his generation but he has yet to win a Grand Slam or climb to the No.
1 spot. Sinner, who recently turned 19, won the Next Gen ATP Finals last year and he has been tipped by many to win a Grand Slam and become world No. 1 one day. "I always say until you become a champion, you can’t say you’re a champion,” Dimitrov said.
“This is, I would say, one of the biggest mistakes when I was upcoming, when everyone was telling me, ‘Oh, you're going to be a champion one day. You're going to be No. 1.’ “I never listen to those things.
He should not listen to all of that. He should follow his way. I have noticed a few of his games in the past year, even when he played in the Next Gen [ATP Finals]. What I like [is that] he's already a very strong guy, meaning his legs are very strong already for his age.
So, I feel, he can only get better. “I think Riccardo [Piatti] is doing a great job with him. I think time can only tell for him. I think that's just how it is… I think on hard [courts] he's playing really well.
Even on clay today, I thought it was a very good match on his end”.
Dimitrov suggests looking at the bigger picture is the key
Dimitrov, 29, came from a set down to beat world No. 81 Sinner 4-6 6-4 6-4 and make the Rome Masters quarterfinal.
"When I was 19, 20, or 21, I was this skinny kid that didn't have enough of my body to be able to compete against the big guys,” Dimitrov added. “Now, all of a sudden, you come out and you have these guys, they are 19, 20, 21, [and] already so well developed that this already plays a big role in the game.
“But I always say tennis is not a sprint. Tennis is a marathon. It's going to be here and there, you're going to have matches that you're just going to win with experience. “I think, in a way, that's what happened today.
I know what it is to be 19 years old and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You come out and you're so loose in your shots and you make unbelievable plays at the toughest times. “For the older guys, it's not the easiest sort of way to compete against.
For sure, we're going to have more pressure, but that's… why this suits us a little bit more, because we can lean on the experience. We can kind of go deep down in that zone and be more aware of whatever situation we need to face”.