“Tennis, change of coach, ski with Lindsey Vonn and Ibra’s voice” – Corriere.it

from gaia piccardi

The tennis player from South Tyrol tells himself: “Only in my forest can I get rid of tiredness. I’ve been reading sports biographies for now.” On Russian and Belarusian tennis players excluded from Wimbledon: “Athletes should not get involved in political discussions”

In a short existence of twenty years, eight months and twenty days but full of things (five tournaments won, two Grand Slam quarterfinals, various and possible) and already dangerously inclined towards extreme hagiography and absolute superlativism (everything that concerns you, through the uncritical megaphone of social networks, it is extraordinary, exceptional, incredible and/or formidable), you think about it jannik sinner de Sesto Pusteria, with laconic dryness, to keep his feet on the ground: «I like to play tennis. Everything else – ranking, popularity, success – comes later.

After the little game he played in his bedroom when he was 7 years old (speaking of hagiography), told by his first teacher, Heribert Mayr from Brunico: «He had an incredible desire to improve and a frantic rush to learn. He never stood still or accepted making mistakes, even though he was just starting out. At the end of the lesson, he immediately took the racket in his hand again: he dribbled against the wall of the room, trying to press the switch and turn the light on and off with the ball ». After the super mediatic improvisation that Fiorello did to him during the Sanremo 2020 festival, when Jannik was training in Bordighera with former coach Riccardo Piatti. After the little curiosities about a very talented Italian boy, already top 10, now number 12 in the world ranking, ready to move on: on Playstation he chooses De Bruyne’s Manchester City, when he returns home (a little) he cries of good win. Grandma Maria’s Wiener Schnitzel, he cuts his hair only when the “fins” are made under the hat, for a period he dated a model-influencer. He defused any spark of controversy over the definition of South Tyrol or South Tyrol (“Call me what you want, I don’t care. I was born a stone’s throw from Austria, I’m Italian, I play Davis in blue and I train with an Italian coach” said to delivery courier
), it only remains to talk about the only topic that, as a good 3.0 nerd, interests him -tennis- with some digression off the field of play.

Jannik at his age surprises with maturity and unwillingness to lose. It is said that when he was a child, in South Tyrol, when he was beaten at football, he cried for days.

«There are more precious defeats than many victories: they hurt you but they help you grow, they are necessary lessons. It is true that when I play tennis I always want to win. What interests me is raising the level in the tournament: in Monte Carlo, for example, although I came out in the quarterfinals, I liked it.

The difference to German #3 Sasha Zverev, in the end, was two balls on the tape.

“However, two balls on the tape is too many.”

Between Montecarlo and Madrid, ahead of the Internationals of the Foro Italico in Rome, starting Monday, a rest week. What is your concept of rest?

“Few and short vacations, until now. I’ve always been a sleeper: my typical rest day is to sleep late, play on the Playstation and go back to bed… The most restful thing is to go home to mum Siglinde, dad Hanspeter and brother Mark I feel so much for nature and my mountains: with a walk in the woods I can recover from months of tiredness, but I can rarely afford it.

Last March, on the eve of Davis’ match against Slovakia, he went up to Plan de Corones to ski with Lindsey Vonn. How was she?

“Very good! Skiing with her was one of my dreams. I come from skiing, slalom and giant, of which I was junior Italian champion. As a child I liked Bode Miller but meeting Vonn was legendary: he came to my house, we climbed Together, we met.”

Did he ask you for any useful advice?

“It was interesting to understand how a champion approaches the sport, to listen to the sacrifices of a career, to learn from her injuries. I consider the hours I spent with Lindsey a privilege.’

What if you were asked to lead the way at Milan-Cortina 2026, the Italian Winter Olympics?

“Eh, I would like to… They already asked me in Val Gardena a couple of years ago, for the World Cup race. I talked about it with my first ski instructor, he tempted me but then I didn’t trust him.


“About me! I know myself too well: at the gate I want to dive headfirst, without brakes, to be competitive until the finish line. But today I have to go slowly, ski conservatively so as not to risk hurting myself , it would be a good problem. In short, in Milan-Cortina I should say no, but while skiing with the Vonn I had an idea: the next time I go to the mountains I buy a GoPro, I put it on my helmet and then I post everything in a story on Instagram.

Why did Sinner change coach after seven years with Riccardo Piatti? The team he wins doesn’t usually change.

“I threw myself into the fire. I think it’s a brave gesture.”

What were you looking for different?

«With Simone Vagnozzi I am more in the field, we favor quality over quantity, we have raised the level. I have experienced different things, which I did not feel before.

Can you give an example?

«It’s difficult to explain… Things are more or less always the same, but Simone explains them to me in another way, or at least they come to me in a new way. Let’s talk more.”

The impression is that, in his teens, at a certain point Piatti’s discipline began to wane.

«I am not saying that the work I did before was bad, far from it: with Riccardo for seven years we have done incredible things, I thank him again. If I got here it is thanks to the base of work that he carried with me. Ultimately, however, I felt that a change had become necessary. After a day with Simone I felt like I’ve known him for twenty years.”

Has the furious rise of Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who is two years your junior and already in the top 10, affected your desire for change?

«No, each one plays his tennis and makes his own path. I never think about Carlos, his growth speed, his talent. I think of myself.”

We live in difficult times, Jannik. The super-professionals of sports live in a cushioned bubble but outside there is war and the most important tournament in the world, Wimbledon, has decided to ban the Russians and Belarusians so as not to give visibility and prestige to the Putin regime. Right or wrong?

“What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy: my thoughts are with the families of those who suffer, with the children involved in the conflict. I feel sorry for the Russian tennis players, I am very sad for them: in my opinion, athletes should never get involved in political discussions. I hope that the war ends and that everything is resolved as soon as possible. It is a very delicate subject, I do not know what else to add.

Is it true that last January, at the start of the season in Australia, you had thought of Boris Becker (now in prison for fraudulent bankruptcy) as a super-coach?

«It is one of the names that we had imagined, I do not say the others. For now, I choose to keep it simple: me, the coach, the physical therapist and the physical trainer. No super trainer; It is not certain that it will not arrive but it is not the moment ».

In a traveling life full of rivals, is it possible to have a best friend?

“I have excellent relationships with many players on the circuit: we meet regularly at tournaments, we chat, we go out to dinner. But the person who knows me best of all is Alex Vitur, former player from me. My history as a tennis player began with him when I was 12 years old, thanks to Alex I went to Bordighera de Piatti, he knows me by heart, he knows everything about me. He is friend, brother, family ».

Is 40-year-old Roger Federer’s return to the gym good news for tennis?

«I would say yes, although the road is long. With the talent that he has, Roger can always surprise. I would like to face him before he retires, he is the only one of the Big Three that I miss, with Nadal and Djokovic I played. It would be wonderful: I will tell my grandchildren on the mountain, in front of the fireplace.

Could this fluid tennis, without a true dominator, favor that definitive generational change of which you are the standard-bearer along with Alcaraz?

«The best seem to be in trouble but the truth is that Nadal has won the Australian Open and that Djokovic, who has chosen not to be vaccinated and has played little so far, will find his form again for Paris. I don’t know if we’re ready to turn things around, but I’m certainly lucky to be in the leading group. It’s fun tennis to play and, I think, to watch.”

Three objects that can never be missing from your bedside table.

«A tablet for series and movies when I travel, a computer to play Fortnite with friends. And a book: I have begun to read!”

Well, this is the best news of the entire interview, Jannik. Salinger, Dostoevsky?

“Lebron James”.

oh here.

«I am passionate about sports biographies: the Agassi Open is on the waiting list, I am finishing Vonn’s book, I have read Ibrahimovic’s Adrenaline. I, a Rossoneri fan, met Ibra at Milanello: her voice stayed in my head, out of curiosity I bought her bio and boom, she seemed beautiful. I also like sports psychology books, but to Rome and Paris I take LeBron, who is big and tough for me.

And a book of yours for when?

“It’s early. I want to wait a little longer to have more beautiful things to tell».

May 6, 2022 (change May 6, 2022 | 07:17)

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