Jannik Sinner has become the latest member of the Next Gen of men’s tennis to prove his worth at the Grand Slam level. On Sunday, the 19-year-old stunned Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open 2020. In doing so, he became the first man since Rafael Nadal to reach the Roland Garros quarter-final on debut.
In the quarter-final, he faces Nadal himself in the biggest test yet for the Italian. Leading tennis coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, called it ‘the ultimate challenge on clay’. However, he believes the top players fear Sinner, and that’s the advantage he holds over them.
The future is bright 🇮🇹@janniksin is the first man to make the final 8 on his debut since Nadal, his next opponent, in 2005. He defeats Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/FWqif1NIt8
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) October 4, 2020
“I think the top guys fear him because they know how good he is. It’s a lot of pressure for them to play him because they don’t want him to beat them. Because they know how dangerous he will be in the future,” Mouratoglou said in an interaction.
It is the top players who have more to lose than Sinner and that adds to the pressure, believes Mouratoglou. “They think, ‘Wow, we have to show him that we’re still better than him.’ This extra pressure is not easy to handle,” he said.
The coach’s perspective on Jannik Sinner
From a coach’s perspective, Mouratoglou, who coaches Serena Williams, highlighted the qualities of Sinner’s game that can make him a top player. Firstly, the French coach feels Sinner has a physique similar to some of the best players.
“All of those men are tall and thin; they are light, and they move very fast. Sinner, exactly that profile,” Mouratoglu expressed. He went on to say that even technically and in the mental aspect, the youngster possesses the skills that match up to the champion players.
“He is a great competitor; he’s fearing nobody; he trusts himself, he believes in himself. So the fitness, the mentality, the competitiveness, the easy power, it’s quite a lot,” the 50-year-old added.
Can Sinner continue his strong show against Rafael Nadal?
Mouratoglou admitted that Sinner is not new on the scene despite being quite young. He has beaten multiple top-15 opponents in the recent past, despite not being as experienced as them. The list includes Stefanos Tsitsipas, who also trains under the tutelage of Mouratoglou. Sinner beat Tsitsipas at the recently concluded Italian Open.
Regardless of the end result of his match against Nadal, the Next Gen ATP Finals champion will enter the top-50 in the ATP rankings after the French Open.