Sinner Reveals An Important Advice Federer Gave Him To Stay Top

Sinner Reveals An Important Advice Federer Gave Him Top Stay On Top

Italian takes on Griekspoor at ATP 500 in his first match as World No. 1

When it comes to grass, Jannik Sinner has a record of 12-8 at the tour level.Text by Andy West

In June of 2019, Jannik Sinner, who was only 17 years old at the time, was strolling around the on-site hotel that was provided for participants at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. He was competing as a wild card in the qualifying round. It was then that Severin Luthi, the coach of Roger Federer, who had won nine Halle titles at the time, came to his rescue and intercepted him.

“I remember Luthi stopping me on the stairs of the hotel and asking me if I could warm [Federer] up for his match,” Sinner said in an interview with on Saturday, prior to the grass-court ATP 500 that was held this year. To which I said, “Of course, yes.” It was an extremely pleasant sensation, a feeling that was unique.

Jannik Sinner holds a 12-8 tour-level record on grass.

After that, the legendary Swiss tennis player Roger Federer won his tenth and final victory in Halle that same year. This year, Sinner not only participates as the top seed, but he also holds the top spot in the PIF ATP Rankings for the very first time in his distinguished career. To this day, the Italian player, who is 22 years old, continues to adhere to the guidance that Federer imparted to him, even if they never had the opportunity to compete against each other in a match.

“I didn’t have the chance to play against Roger in an official match, and this is something that I will always miss, but I do remember the practice sessions with him,” reflected Sinner. “I didn’t have many, so I do remember every single one, more or less. He gave me a kind of mental advice: Try to enjoy it and keep looking forward to working hard. That’s the only thing he told me, and it was quite lovely to share a court with him.”

Sinner enters in Halle having chalked up a 33-3 record the season, a score that includes his maiden Grand Slam win at the Australian Open. Having cracked the major code at this year’s Australian Open and now become the first Italian World No. 1 in history, will capturing a maiden tour-level grass-court title be the next milestone the 22-year-old accomplishes in 2024?

“It would be very special, because you don’t have so many grass-court tournaments throughout the year,” said Sinner. “It’s only here and Wimbledon where I am playing, so I have only two chances [this year]. But in general, it’s fantastic to be back on grass.

“It’s different. The first day you have to go through the movements on the surface and it’s challenging, especially when you play the early rounds against players who played already on grass. They have a little bit of feeling, but here is a location where they trusted in me, they gave me a wild card in qualies back in the day. So I’m glad to come back here and maybe I can show some nice tennis early on.”

Jannik with the footwork 👟@ATPHalle | #TerraWortmannOpen

— ATP Tour (@atptour)June 15, 2024

Sinner is not going to be allowed long to relax on the German turf by his first-round opponent Tallon Griekspoor. The Dutch World No. 23 reached the semi-finals this week on home soil in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where he won the trophy in 2023. Sinner will enter their Halle clash with a 4-0 lead in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

“It will be very difficult. In general he plays good on grass,” said Sinner in German of Griekspoor at his pre-tournament press conference. “He does a lot of serve and volley. He volleys very, very well. It will be a very difficult match, but I’m looking forward to playing on grass.

“It will be a good test for me, for my first match on grass, to see where my level is. I will offer everything, and I’m looking forward to the fans here. The mood is wonderful and I will simply try to enjoy it.”

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