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Sinner Back Home In Rome: 'I'm Not Scared To Say I Can Win Big Matches'

Italian eager to play in front of home crowd
May 09, 2023
Jannik Sinner reached the Rome quarter-finals last year for his best result at the Italian ATP Masters 1000.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Jannik Sinner reached the Rome quarter-finals last year for his best result at the Italian ATP Masters 1000. By ATP Staff

Jannik Sinner enters the Internazionali BNL d'Italia at fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, having reached the quarter-finals or better at seven of his eight events this season. He won his seventh tour-level title in Montpellier and also reached the finals in Miami and Rotterdam, in addition to a semi-final run in Indian Wells.

Despite pulling out of Barcelona ahead of the quarter-finals due to illness and missing Madrid the following week, Sinner enters Rome at full health and in full confidence. He is at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 8, first achieved on 10 April.

"I'm very good, to be honest," he said of his physical conditioning, speaking with ATP Media. "I took a little bit of time off after some very long tournaments, which is a good sign, I made a lot of good [results]. The start of the season was good and I'm happy to be back here, especially in Rome. It's a special tournament for all Italians and also obviously for me. Physically, we worked very hard for one week now and I'm happy to be here."

The 21-year-old reached the Rome quarter-finals for the first time last season but enters this year's event with even loftier goals, having already compiled a 12-3 record across the first three ATP Masters 1000 of the season.

"I have a different mindset now," he explained. "I'm not scared to say that I can win big, big matches. I'm here, I can do it... But in another way, you have to have the right respect for every single player. Every player is so tough. Also emotion-wise, it's sometimes not easy. But if I go in my way, I want to push myself to the limits because I know that, especially there, I can show some very good tennis."

Adding to Sinner's confidence is the boost he knows he can count on from the Italian crowd. He says he has learned to use their support to fuel him after perhaps feeling the pressure of home expectation in his younger years.

"In the beginning it was not easy to connect with the people, with the crowd, but now I feel that it's natural," the San Candido native said. "You play in front of the crowd and they only want to push you, they want to help you to win. I'm happy that I have a chance again this year to play in front of my home crowd. Hopefully I can make good things happen, which I believe I can do."

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With Sinner in his home nation, he was also asked to recommend some Italian cuisine. He delivered with a menu of options: "Here it's tough to find not good places to eat. I think it's impossible," he said with a smile. "But for sure carbonara, cacio e pepe—this is very good pasta if you like pasta. Obviously pizza in Italy is very good. You will not [go wrong] with the food here."

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