“I have to be prepared for it” – Sinner wary of greater scrutiny from rivals as he returns to action

The Italian returns to competitive action this week at the Rotterdam Open – his first appearance since winning his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month

Jannik Sinner, Australian Open, 2024 Jannik Sinner (Icon SMI/Panoramic)

One of the biggest challenges of returning to regular tour action following a seismic breakthrough, such as winning your maiden Grand Slam title, is that you do so with a greater target on your back than at any point previously in your career.

When Jannik Sinner won the Australian Open last month, he emphatically announced his arrival as one of the dominant forces in men’s tennis. While this imbues a certain aura of confidence most players can only dream of, with it also comes a much greater level of scrutiny from rivals.

As the 22-year-old Italian prepares to make his first appearance on the ATP Tour since that spectacular victory in Melbourne a little over a fortnight ago, he will do so for the first and only time in his career as a new Grand Slam champion.

Sinner is well aware of the challenge his presence in Rotterdam poses to the rest of the field, and how being the leading man will invite a more intense tactical focus from his fellow competitors, as well as provide the added incentive of beating a newly-crowned major champion.

“They respect me more, but at the same time they know me more and they know my weaknesses more,” the Italian told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I have to be prepared for it and that’s why I train. Let’s see how I react to this situation now that everyone knows me.

“The majority of tennis players now are not going to have anything to lose against me and it is something different from the past because they will play with less pressure.”

approach remains unchanged as sinner gears up for Atp return

Following his historic victory at the Australian Open, Sinner has revealed that he is yet to see his family.

As testament to the work ethic that ultimately led to his success in Melbourne, the world No 4 instead mixed public duties with a return to his physical conditioning regime.

“I haven’t been able to see my family, I hope to do so after Rotterdam,” Sinner said.

“After winning in Australia, I flew to Rome. I was there two days and took only two days of vacation. That’s all. Even in Rome, I was working in the gym to maintain my physical condition from Melbourne in order to be ready for Rotterdam.”

Jannik Sinner wins his first Grand Slam title, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final

As attention and focus on the young Italian intensifies with his return to competitive action, Sinner – as ever – remains the calm and level-headed centre of the media whirlwind around him.

Questions regarding next achievements and a push for the world No 1 ranking are somewhat inevitable, but the Australian Open champion’s approach to his own game remains refreshingly unchanged.

He stays committed to the incremental improvements that have led him to his successes thus far, with eyes firmly on the next steps ahead of him in his career.

“Of course, in my country there is a lot of attention after Melbourne and it is nice to share these moments with the people who support me” Sinner continued.

“I, as a person, have not changed anything. And my team has not changed either because we know that we have to improve if we want to achieve the following objectives. 

“In the last week, I have trained hard to offer my best tennis in Rotterdam. 

“Right now that is my goal.”

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