Maria Sharapova reveals ‘humble’ ATP tennis star she is ‘always rooting for’

Ewan West
Maria Sharapova at 2023 US Open
Maria Sharapova watching 2023 US Open

Tennis great Maria Sharapova has divulged that Jannik Sinner is a player she is “always rooting for” and explained she likes the Italian’s “humble approach to the sport.”

The five-time Grand Slam champion also revealed she “loves seeing the younger generation” of players and feels there is currently “an aura about the men’s game.”

Revered Italian coach Riccardo Piatti worked with Sinner for several years until February 2022, when the player decided to end the pair’s collaboration. Piatti was also the last coach Sharapova had in her illustrious career, before her retirement in 2020.

Sinner and Sharapova practised and spent time together and the Italian described the Russian as “one of the greatest champions” last year. The 22-year-old also picked Sharapova as his dream mixed doubles partner.

Speaking on an episode of The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, former world No 1 Sharapova highlighted Sinner as the player she supports on the men’s tour.

“You know, the last coach of my career coached Sinner for several years, so I got to play with him a few times. So, you know, I’m always rooting for him. I just like his humble approach to the sport,” said the 36-year-old.

“I love seeing the younger generation. There’s an aura about the men’s game, it’s very evident. They have different styles of play, different personalities, from different parts of the world, and it’s just fun to see these rivalries come together. I think the men’s game is in a good state.”

In an interview with Marca in 2021, Sinner lauded Sharapova’s mentality and admitted he felt lucky to have had the chance to know the WTA legend.

“I feel lucky to have met her personally. She really impressed me with her professionalism. Her tennis was incredible, which is evident in what she achieved,” said the Italian.

“She had a different and special type of mentality that few players have. I tried to understand how you can have this character. It’s a bit like what happened to me with [Rafael] Nadal in Adelaide.

“They don’t just have one thing that makes them unique – it’s a collection of things. Spending time with them makes you improve, not just as a tennis player but as a person.”

World No 7 Sinner is in action at the China Open in Beijing, where play in the main draw started today. The 22-year-old will take on world No 33 Dan Evans in the opening round of the ATP 500 event on Friday.

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