Jannik Sinner explains why Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are his biggest inspirations

Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner has highlighted two reasons why Roger Federer “was always” his biggest inspiration growing up although he admitted it was a “mix” of the Swiss and Rafael Nadal.

The 22-year-old Sinner became the ninth youngest champion Down Under after he stunningly defeated Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final on Rod Laver Arena.

Having gone down two sets to love, many feared the worst for the Italian but he stormed back to win 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 44 minutes.

One of the rewards of winning a major is a photo shoot at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and the world No 4 was joined by Nicholas Pashulya, a member of the Hot Shot Tennis academy in Victoria’s capital.

The youngster asked Sinner about his idols growing up and he replied: “When I was younger, I think the biggest inspiration was always Roger Federer because of the way he behaves on the courts, the way he treats people off the court.

“I would say the mix of him and Rafa because, you know, also the fighting spirit of Rafa. Yeah, they are great sportsmen. But there are so many.”

It is not the first time that Sinner has hailed 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer as his hero as even as recently as November 2023, just days after steering Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976, as he expressed his regret over never facing the former world No 1 on Tour.

“It has always been Roger Federer. I dreamed of playing with him but unfortunately it never happened,” he told Italian daily Libero Quotidiano.

“Who knows if one day we will be able to do a performance together. I’d really like to. He is a very good person as well as being a great champion.”

Back to his interview with Pashulya, Sinner also gave the youngster some advice.

“The most important thing is just to try throughout your whole journey,” he said. “Surround yourself with the most beautiful people you can find and just take it with a smile. Then you have won already, the result doesn’t matter.”

And the Italian’s comment about “surrounding yourself with beautiful people” is far from surprising given his special bond with his family.

After his heartwarming comments about his parents during his on-court interview, he later described them as the “perfect” as he also praised his brother Marc.

“They always gave me, they never put pressure on myself, which for me is maybe the key why I’m here today,” he said.

“They are the perfect parents. Obviously I know only them (smiling) but they are awesome. And also my brother, he brings me honesty throughout the whole career I’m going through.”

READ MORE: Who are Jannik Sinner’s parents? How Johann and Siglinde Sinner gave him the freedom to become a Grand Slam winner