The skis for racquets of Jannik Sinner, an Italian outlier
Coming down from the high peaks of the Alps. A boy who had a great future with boots on his feet hooked to a pair of skis, but he chose racquets and yellow balls. He chose wisely. Then he became the Australian Open champion.
With Italian passport, but with German as his native language. And who at first glance could fit many geografical stereotypes, except that of a typical italian.
Sinner an Italian outlier
Jannik Sinner is not. He is not the traditional tennis player from the peninsula. He is not the typical guy from his country. He doesn’t shout “Madonna!”, nor does he get offended like a classic histrionic Italian. Very far from that.
He openly talks about his personality, quite different from the rest of his fellow countrymen.
“I’m not cold, I just keep calm, which is essential to overcome the pressure, face each game with a fresh mind and avoid losing control in the frenzy of each point,” he told ICON, a magazine specialized in fashion, which took him on the cover, as part of a photo shoot on a sailboat.
The 22-year-old tennis player was born and raised in Innichen (San Candido), in the South Tyrol region. Just eight kilometres from the Austrian border, where being bilingual is a fact of life. Sinner shows it at every press conference when he wanders between Italian and German, always after English. Trilingual, actually.
The area was Austrian before the First World War. The region, by the way, economically richer than any other in Italy, is a destination for snow sports fans, a place where spectacular spas add balance to the sporting panorama.
Right there a great ski project was born. In 2008, at the age of eight, he was slalom champion and remained one of the best juniors for four more years. Until the age of 13. Sinner’s parents gave him always the freedom to choose whatever sport he loved the most. But Sinner likes the game, the rivalries, the fun spectacle and being able to turn games around. Like he did in the final of Australia with his aggressive tennis and his calm character. Skiing doesn’t have that.
So he swaped the mountains of the northeast for the Italian Riviera in the northwest, right before the border with France. He landed at Riccardo Piatti’s academy in Bordighera, with whom he worked until the beginning of 2022.
Piatti was his tennis father and with whom he reached the top ten. Despite being in a great moment and having reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time that season, he felt he needed a change. He fired almost his entire team and hired Simone Vagnozzi. Later that year, Darren Cahill, former coach of Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep, joined the team. The Australian has been fundamental in his progress.
Sinner, 188 centimeters tall, and with intense orange in his straight hair with curly ends, entered the tennis’ greatness. Thanks to his parents. Thanks to his love of the game.