Jannik Sinner warned of risks of ‘too much fanaticism’ by Grand Slam champion

Ewan West
Italy's Jannik Sinner holds the Butch Buchholz trophy after winning the Miami Open
Italy's Jannik Sinner holds the Butch Buchholz trophy after winning the Miami Open

Former world No 4 Adriano Panatta has proclaimed he sees “too much fanaticism” around his fellow Italian Jannik Sinner and argued “certain things must be taken more lightly.”

The 1976 French Open winner feels there is “no need” for this level of attention and warned it risks going against Sinner’s “education, maturity and management of pressure.”

Sinner has already become a big star in the world of tennis and is establishing himself as a huge sporting hero in Italy on the back of his incredible surge over the past six months.

The 22-year-old became the third man and fifth player overall from Italy to win a Grand Slam singles title with his triumph at the 2024 Australian Open in January.

The Italian claimed his third title of an outstanding 2024 season so far at the Miami Open last week, where he downed Grigor Dimitrov in the final. His victory has seen him climb to a career-high ranking of world No 2 — the highest position ever reached by an Italian player.

READ MORE: ‘Jannik Sinner will never be able to take one record away from me’, says tennis great

Panatta, who won 10 ATP titles during a career spanning from 1969 to 1983, lauded Sinner’s performances in Miami and argued his best level is currently matched by no one.

“In Miami, he won in such a clear way that it was almost disconcerting. He was so solid and shot so hard that Dimitrov didn’t play, I can’t think of anything the Bulgarian could have done to contain him,” assessed the 73-year-old in quotes reported by Ubitennis.

“Between the semi-final and final, he proved that he is in another category at this moment.”

The Italian great, who helped his nation win the Davis Cup for the first time in 1976, expressed concern over the affect that Sinner’s rising popularity could have.

“In Italy we have a champion who is getting us used to it too well. Of course, they are all tennis players now, but this is positive for the movement, even if sometimes I see too much fanaticism around Sinner. There is no need,” Panatta said.

“Certain things must be taken more lightly, sometimes I see too much fanaticism around him. There is no need because he risks going against Jannik’s education, maturity and management of pressure.

“We are talking about an excellent model, many are taking him as an example and what is happening to him doesn’t happen every day.

“Then his private life does not concern us, I have never allowed myself to make positive or negative judgments on someone’s life. We are not all the same. Each player has his soul, his character and his personality.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic told he ‘already seems outdated’ as Jannik Sinner ‘invented a new game’