Jannik Sinner has been the revelation of the season. One of the 19-year-old’s biggest triumphs this year was the fourth round win over Alexander Zverev at the French Open.
Sinner defeated Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam for the very first time.
But the German complained after the match that he was ill and should not have played at all. Sinner has not taken too kindly to Zverev’s explanation, saying the greats of the game would never come up with excuses after a loss.
“He has won more than me, he has more experience and I respect him,” Sinner said of Zverev to Italian publication Corriere Della Sera.
“But what he said at Roland Garros to explain his defeat is a contradiction: he had a fever but in the third and fourth set he ran more than before? These stories, (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer do not make them.”
Sinner’s dream run at Roland Garros was brought to an end by Nadal, who won the quarterfinal clash 7-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“Nadal is superior in the head,” said Sinner. “He pulls hard like everyone else but he understands the moments, he knows exactly what to do, how and when. It’s another thing”.
The 19-year-old Italian, who started the year ranked 78 in the world, has risen to 37 in the current rankings. He also became the youngest ATP champion in 12 years as he won the Sofia Open earlier this month.
“It was a very strange season,” he said.
“I would have liked to play more, learn more and faster. How to stay inside the circuit, how to train with the big names, how not to waste unnecessary energy. Now I feel more at ease, last year I didn’t.
“The doctor said I’m not done growing and developing yet. We know that I can pull the forehand and the backhand, but I have to improve in every aspect, settle down physically. It takes time. It all starts with the mind.”