Italian youngster Jannik Sinner says playing against players at a higher age group or higher levels was a conscious decision since his younger days. Speaking to the ATP Tour website, Sinner says, "I never doubted myself about being a good tennis player, as I am a hard worker, but I was skinnier and smaller than I am now.
I was fast and came to the net, but I needed confidence to find my level. In tennis you can win matches or a tournament, and you can also lose three or four first rounds in a row, so the decision to play at higher levels than my age was a big decision.
I certainly went down the tougher route, but it helped build the expectation and pressure that I put on myself. You feel you need to win this match, or this exact point and you overdo it, but you have to understand the outcome and it’s a learning process every day”.
Sinner continues that winning the tournament in Bergamo was a turning point for him. “I was in good shape and felt well on the court, but it became less about confidence and more about executing my game plan: what I wanted to do, rather than be dictated to.
A crowd can give you energy, which is very important for a player, then it’s down to staying calm and not being nervous. Winning the Bergamo title early in 2019, having twisted my ankle the year before, was certainly a trigger to improve again, and once I beat Gael Monfils [at the European Open] at Antwerp in October, I knew how far I could go”. The 18 year old Sinner is currently ranked No. 73 in the world rankings.