Roland Garros

Sinner on the key to his promotion: “I had to accept learning from myself”

Roland Garros semi-finalist will become world No. 1 for the first time on Monday

June 04, 2024

Peter Staples/ATP Tour

By Staff

One of the main factors in Jannik Sinner’s sensational 2024 season to date? Learn from past mistakes.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Italian moved to 33-2 at Roland Garros, after disposing of Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. Reaching his first semi-final at a clay court Grand Slam is another milestone in the Italian’s rise, but Sinner says his current strength was only built by first recognizing his weaknesses.

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

“Then I also had the US Open. I had a little change after the defeat with Sascha [Zverev]. There are times when you have to realize what you have done wrong and sometimes it is hard to accept it, but this is the right path. I have very honest people around me, and they only tell me the truth. When it is good, it is good; when it’s bad, it’s bad. It’s part of the process.”

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Whatever changes Sinner introduced, they have helped propel him to the top of tennis for the first time. While the 22-year-old was on court facing Dimitrov, it was announced that Novak Djokovic was withdrawing from his quarterfinal match against Casper Ruud due to a knee injury. This confirmed that Sinner will surpass Djokovic on Monday and become No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

“It means a lot to me,” Sinner reflected. “Actually it’s not what we all expected. He (Djokovic) had two very long, tough matches, five sets, so it’s difficult. Plus, he finished the first one very late. It’s also tough for the tournament. Novak [se retira]it’s always hard.”

“Speaking of myself, I am very happy about this achievement. We work a lot every day. It is a daily routine. Obviously, I am happy to have this ranking. In two days there is a very important match for me, the semifinals, so now I am focused on that. But yes, of course, I’m very happy to have this number now.”

Sinner is 11-1 on clay, where he has not always obtained his best results. His only tour-level trophy on this surface came in 2022 at an ATP 250 in Umag, but he feels he has now come to terms with the realities of competing on clay as he prepares for a semi-final clash with Carlos Alcaraz or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s a very physical surface, where you play more tennis,” Sinner said when asked what had been the most difficult thing for him to achieve good results on clay. “Sometimes on a hard court you hit a couple of balls quickly and it’s over, or if you serve well, it’s over. On this surface, there are more key moments that you have to understand”

“Each player struggles a little more on certain surfaces. We are going to see this year how I am going to play on grass, because on grass I have only had one good season, which was last year. Before, it was more and more difficult for me.”

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


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