Minutes after Jannik Sinner won his Mutua Madrid Open debut, he was back in the swing of things on the practice court.
The 19-year-old Italian phenom led 6-2, 4-4 when Argentinean veteran Guido Pella retired from their opening-round match sending Sinner into the second round with his 19th win of the season.
Arriving in Madrid ranked a career-high No. 18, Sinner isn’t satisfied being the ATP’s highest-ranked teenager, reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Miami last month, standing third on the ATP in 2021 wins behind only Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, winning two career titles or his recent sponsorship pact with Alfa Romeo.
In the quest for improvement there is no finish line. For now, Sinner measures success in improvement and the teenager with a high ceiling has high expectations.
“Ranking is a number, you know, at the end of the day. I am there where I am right now, but, you know, the road is long,” Sinner said. “At the end I didn’t win anything. Two titles, but, you know, the road is long, and I know that I have to improve pretty much everything.
“You know, but I have a great team behind me which is pushing me to that. Yeah, I’m excited to work hard day after day, and then we will see what’s coming and what’s happening.”
Sinner combines superstar potential with a working-class ethos that comes from his parents. His father, Johann Sinner, is a chef in a restaurant and his mother, Siglinde Sinner, is a hostess at the restaurant. Sinner credits his parents for instilling that daily drive for self improvement in him.
“For me, improvement is the most important thing,” Sinner said. “I think, you know, I have to improve on every single part of my game physically, mentally, everything. Then we will see what’s coming.”
Photo credit: Mateo Villalbda/Mutua Madrid Open