Sinner: Here Is The Key To My Rise So Far

Sinner: Here Is The Key To My Rise ‘I had to accept to learn from myself’

Jannik Sinner celebrates his straight-sets win against Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday at Roland Garros.By ATP Staff

One of the primary elements behind Jannik Sinner’s fantastic 2024 season thus far? Learning from past mistakes.

The Italian rose to 33-2 for the year on Tuesday afternoon by dispatching Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets at Roland Garros. Reaching his maiden semi-final at the clay-court major is yet another milestone in the Italian’s development, but Sinner feels his current strength was only established by first accepting his shortcomings.

“I think I’ve learned a lot from the losses I had, especially one year ago here,” said Sinner, who was beaten by Daniel Altmaier in Paris in 2023, in his post-match press conference. “I learned, and I had to accept to learn from myself, of my body language. I worked a lot on that.

Jannik Sinner celebrates his straight-sets win against Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday at Roland Garros.

“Then I had also the US Open. I had a small switch after the Sascha [Zverev] loss. There are some instances where you have to recognize what you have done wrong and sometimes it’s harder to accept, but this is the proper way. I have very honest individuals around me, and they tell me only the truth. When it’s good, it’s good; when it’s terrible, it’s bad. It’s part of the process.”

Whatever modifications Sinner has made, they have helped drive him to the summit of tennis’ mountain for the first time. While the 22-year-old was on court playing Dimitrov, it was revealed that Novak Djokovic withdrew from his quarter-final against Casper Ruud due to a knee issue. That assured that Sinner will on Monday leapfrog Djokovic to become No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

“It means a lot to me for sure,” reflected Sinner. “It’s not the way we all were expecting actually. He (Djokovic) had two really long matches, tough contests, five sets, so it’s tough. The first one he finished pretty late likewise. It’s tough also for the tournament. Novak [withdrawing], it’s always tough.

“Talking about myself, I am very happy about this achievement. It’s a lot of work we put in daily. It’s a daily ritual. Obviously delighted to have this number. In two days, there is a really crucial match for me, the semi-finals, so I’m concerned about that at the moment. But yes, of course, I’m really thrilled to have this number now.”

Sinner is now 11-1 for the year on clay, on which he has not always had his greatest results. His last tour-level prize on the surface came in 2022 at an ATP 250 in Umag, but feels he has now come to terms with the challenges of competing on clay as he prepares for a last-four meeting with Carlos Alcaraz or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s a very physical surface, and you play more tennis,” remarked Sinner, when asked what he has found most tough about forging solid outcomes on clay. “Sometimes on hard courts you hit fast for couple of balls and then it’s over, or if you serve good, it’s over. On this surface, there are few additional critical events that you have to comprehend.

“Every player struggles a little bit more on certain surfaces. Let’s see this year how I will play on grass since on grass I’ve had only one successful season, which was last year. Before I was struggling more and more.

“Let’s see what is coming. I think it’s healthy to understand that you struggle a little bit. You have to understand yourself.”

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