‘Everyone is talking about Jannik Sinner’ – Italian backed to take tennis to new heights

Shahida Jacobs
Jannik Sinner spoke to the world's media after his Australian Open win
Jannik Sinner spoke to the world's media after his Australian Open win

Jannik Sinner mania has gripped Italy following the rising star’s success in recent months and he has been backed to take tennis to new heights in his home country.

The 22-year-old is the form player on the ATP Tour as he is 28-2 so far this season having won three titles – including his maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open – with his only defeats coming against Carlos Alcaraz at the Miami Open and against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo.

His incredible run of form, though, stretches back to the end of the 2023 campaign as he also steered Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976.

Sinner has also risen to a career-high No 2 in the ATP Rankings and – on the back of Novak Djokovic’s shock defeat at the Italian Open – he is on course to become the first Italian world No 1 after Roland Garros.

Naturally, Sinner’s performances have raised his own profile and also given tennis a boost in his home country and Italian Open Tournament Director Paolo Lorenzi has high praise for the world No 2.

“He is the example for the new generation for players who are good and the ones who want to become even better,” Lorenzi told The AO Show podcast.

“Everyone in Italy is watching Sinner … to be so young to be an example is not easy, but Jannik is the right person to do that.”

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He added: “A Jannik Sinner match is like a football match in Italy and this almost never happened in the last 30 years.

“When Sinner is playing, you have the live score – whatever – on every news site in Italy online, everyone is talking about Sinner.

“If you walk in the street they are talking ‘why is Sinner not [world] No 1, how many points he needs’. Now everyone is talking about tennis.”

Before Sinner won the Australian Open this year, Adriano Panatta was the Italian man to win a Grand Slam as he lifted the 1976 French Open trophy while Nicola Pietrangeli won the 1959 and 1960 French Open. On the women’s side, Francesca Schiavone won the 2010 French Open and Flavia Pennetta won the US Open in 2015.

Matteo Berrettini also raised the sport’s profile when he finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 2021, but Sinner’s is turning into a phenomenon.

Asked if Sinner and tennis are competing with football, Lorenzi replied: “I think Sinner right now can be better than football. Right now he is the most famous person in Italy.”