04:01 AM GMT April 19, 2021
#NextGenATP Jannik Sinner has broken into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time today at No. 19.
The Italian has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few years, going from an unranked pro in February 2018 to his Top 100 breakthrough on 28 October 2019, shortly before he drew the attention of the tennis world with his dazzling performances to capture the Next Gen ATP Finals title.
Under the guidance of the vastly experienced Riccardo Piatti since the age of 13, and his second coach, Andrea Volpini, Sinner has been able to absorb the very best information and has long shown a maturity that belies his 19 years of age.
“Things are happening quite fast at the moment,” said Sinner, ahead of this week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. “I have a very good team behind me, and each member knows what they have to do, so that gives me confidence. Everyone has a lot of experience working with many players. I try to improve every day, which is my main goal, and the results will come. I am happy with what I am doing.
“Being a champion is a long, long road. It’s still a long way away… [I’ve made] a good start being 19 years old and playing at the highest level, but I don’t think about being a champion at the moment.”
Last year, Sinner reached his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final at Roland Garros and went on to claim his first ATP Tour title at the Sofia Open (d. Pospisil). He impressed Rafael Nadal so much that the Spanish superstar asked Sinner to be his quarantine training partner in Australia earlier this year.
The Monte-Carlo resident got first-hand knowledge of Nadal’s work ethic and went on to capture his second crown at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia) in February. He recently advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Hurkacz).
Novak Djokovic, who was coached by Piatti at a similar age to Sinner, offered the 62-year-old coach a few tips on Wednesday after the World No. 1 had beaten the teenager at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. “Jannik realises that the process is long,” said Piatti, who also coached former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic from the age of 17 in 1997 until the Croatian’s retirement in 2012. “His potential is very good, but he must continue to develop all areas of his game, learn by watching the best players, and develop his consistency each week.”
Last week, Djokovic praised Sinner, saying: “I think he's very talented player. He has already established himself at [a] high level in the men's game, playing [a] Masters  final [and] winning a couple of tournaments already.
“What impresses me the most is his professionalism, his dedication to the everyday routines that he has to endure in order to play at such high level… He really has a good mindset. He seems more mature for his age than the rest of the guys with the way he's playing and training. He's got a good tempo. From the baseline, he makes the other guy feel he's got to run a lot.
“I like his game. I think he has an all-around game. He can play equally well on all the surfaces, which he has proven. Obviously, there's always things to improve. But he's in good hands… I'm sure a bright future is ahead of him.”
Following his loss to Djokovic, Sinner joined Piatti the next day on the practice courts at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, trying to improve. Today, Sinner is the Italian No. 2, behind No. 10-ranked Matteo Berrettini, and the youngest player in the Top 80.