Italian sport: Jannik Sinner, the first Italian tennis player number one in the world

Jun 23, 2024 295

In the more than 100-year history of professional tennis, no Italian man or woman has ever reached number one in the world rankings. Tennis, which came to Italy thanks to a few English gentlemen in the late 1800s who did not want to give up their passion for the game that had become very popular in Anglo-Saxon high society, has been one of the most played sports in the Bel Paese since the late 1970s.

It was players like Nicola Pietrangeli, Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti who made Italians fall in love with tennis. All great champions who, however, never managed to climb the world ranking to the top spot.

The same goes for the Italian women tennis players, from Lea Pericoli, the first great Italian international tennis star to Fed Cup and Grand Slam tournament winners Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone, tennis stars of the new millennium.

Then in 2001, in San Candido, a small town in the province of Bolzano nestled in the Dolomites, Jannik Sinner was born. His parents work at a mountain hut in the mountains and encourage their son to play sports from an early age. At the age of three, Jannik began skiing and playing tennis. He became very good at skiing, winning a few youth competitions, then because of too much training he could no longer pursue skiing and devoted himself only to tennis.

At the age of thirteen he began to get serious about tennis and two years later he started his professional career by winning his first youth tournaments. In 2018 he enters the ATP rankings at place 1592, and in 2019 he closes the season at place 93. From 2020 he begins his unstoppable climb. At the end of the season he is 37th, in 2021 he is 9th, in 2023 he wins the Davis Cup with the Italian national team and loses the ATP Finals to Djokovic and ends the year in 4th place. In 2024 he opens the season by winning the Australian Open, a feat that has never been achieved by an Italian tennis player, and the Rotterdam tournament by climbing to 3rd in the world rankings.

In the entire history of Italian tennis only Nicola Pietrangeli had been world No. 3, considered to be in that ranking position by Lance Tingay, an influential British journalist who was then drawing up the end-of-season rankings for the top players. In April 2024 he won the Miami Masters 1000, moving up to No. 2, then on June 10, thanks to his result at Roland Garros and Djokovic's withdrawal from the tournament's semifinals, Sinner became the first Italian in history to become world No. 1. The young Italian tennis player, takes the record away from the Serbian tennis player who had occupied the top spot in the ranking for 428 weeks!

His favorite playing surface is cement but he is also strong on grass and clay, and in 2023, through specific training he improved the power of his serve, which together with his two-handed backhand became his best weapon. But the real strength of the new world number one is his ability to stay focused at every moment of the match, so it is his mental power.

At his young age, Sinner has already broken several records, and thanks to his characteristics it is a safe bet that he will remain world leader for a long time.

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