10:35 AM GMT May 23, 2020
Jannik Sinner is the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion and the youngest Top 100 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
ATPTour.com looks at five things you should know about the 18-year-old.
1) He Stunned The Field At The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals
Heading into the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italian players owned a 0-6 record at the innovative 21-and-under event. But Jannik Sinner, competing as the Italian wild card, stormed through the draw to take the trophy.
Sinner topped Group B with a 2-1 record, beating Frances Tiafoe and Mikael Ymer to advance to the semi-finals. From there, the 6’2” right-hander powered past Miomir Kecmanovic in four sets and top seed Alex de Minaur in straight sets to take the title in front of a passionate home crowd at the Allianz Cloud.
“I'm surprised because it's been an unbelievable week,” said Sinner in Milan. “All the players are unbelievable players. If not, they are not here. I was the [lowest-ranked] one. I was the [eighth] seed. So I tried to have my chances and, of course, today I'm very happy about my game.”
2) He Is A Former Junior Skiing Champion
Five years ago, Sinner's focus was on skiing rather than tennis. The Italian, who did not touch a racquet for a year at the age of seven, was playing just two days per week before moving to Riccardo Piatti’s academy in Bordighera as a 13-year-old.
“When I went on court just two times in a week, I really enjoyed it. I just tried to enjoy and it was fun. It was just fun,” said Sinner. “But now it’s a little bit more than fun. Now it’s fun, but you want to go a little bit further and I think that makes this very important.”
Claudio Pistolesi, the 1985 junior World No. 1, recently shared his opinion with ATPTour.com on Sinner's unconventional route to the ATP Tour and the benefits his skiing background has on his game.
“Like Lorenzo Sonego, who played football until the age of 14, he has broken all the rules that you follow from an academy perspective, having done another sport to a good level,” said Pistolesi. “He brings some lateral skills to tennis from skiing in his movement around the tennis court, and he steps into the ball automatically."
3) He Owns The Heaviest Backhand On The ATP Tour
In a recent Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of players who competed in a minimum of 10 ATP matches on Hawk-Eye courts from 2018-2020, Sinner’s backhand was identified as a peak performer in both categories measured.
In terms of spin, no player on the ATP Tour hits their backhand with more spin than Sinner’s 1858 rpm. The 18-year-old also owns the fifth-fasted backhand, with an average speed of 69.1 mph.
4) He’s Raising Funds For COVID-19 Relief
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sinner has found multiple ways to support Italian efforts in the fight against the virus.
Alongside his management company, StarWing Sports, and Piatti, Sinner donated €12,500 to Cesvi, a humanitarian organisation. The donation will be used to help with medical emergencies in Bergamo.
“The unity in Italy throughout this crisis has been incredible. Among many thousands of Italians that have helped through this crisis, I want to applaud the 250 volunteers who came together in Bergamo recently to build a Field Hospital in just eight days,” wrote Sinner on Twitter. “This unity is what will get us through this period. I want to do my part, as much as I can, to contribute in pulling us out of this."
Sinner also created the #SinnerPizzaChallenge, where he will donate €10 alongside his management company for every photo he receives of a pizza that resembles himself or any past or present Italian figure. The money raised from the challenge will be used to fund vital medical supplies in Italy during the pandemic.
5) He Supports AC Milan
Sinner is a supporter of Italian football club, AC Milan. Ahead of his title run at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, the Italian was able to attend one of the club’s matches at their home ground: the San Siro stadium.
“My best friend is a Milan fan, so we watched a little bit of football and now I am a Milan fan,” said Sinner.