“Always Special to Meet Them”: Sinner Reveals He’s Star-Struck By Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer

Published 03/27/2021, 11:42 AM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in the Men’s Singles Semi Final at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)


Rising Italian tennis star Jannik Sinner has opened up on his experience every time he runs into his childhood idol, Rafael Nadal. In an interview with atptour.com, the 19-year-old Italian said he gets nervous whenever he bumps into the Spaniard.

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Jannik Sinner reveals Roger Federer makes him nervous too

Also revealing his admiration for Roger Federer, who is currently tied with Nadal for the most number of Grand Slam titles in the men’s game, he said he is similarly coy and “nervous” every time he runs into him on the sidelines of Tour events.

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“Rafa, definitely. Always, when I see him, I am quite nervous. It is the same with Roger. It is always special to meet them,” the current World Number 31 said.

Though still only 19, Sinner is already being touted as the next big thing in men’s tennis. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021, Italy’s Jannik Sinner in action during his first round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

And he did his reputation no harm by picking up his maiden Tour title in Sofia, Bulgaria, last year. Sinner saw off Canadian Vasek Pospisil in a knife-edged three-setter to lift the championship.

Jannik Sinner gave a stern test to Rafael Nadal at the French Open last year

The Italian got the tennis world talking after testing Nadal on clay at last year’s French Open.

Setting up a quarter-final showdown with his idol after recording an upset win over current World Number 7 Alexander Zverev, Sinner took the opening set to a tie-breaker.

Though he eventually went down in straight sets, he held his own in the contest and even had chances to box the Spaniard into a corner.

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He couldn’t have hoped for a tougher first-round opponent at this year’s Australian Open than Canadian star Denis Shapovalov and bowed out after losing in five sets.

The Italian reached the quarter-final of the Dubai Open following impressive wins over Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. However, his campaign ended in the last-eight after he finished on the losing side of an absorbing three-setter against eventual champion Aslan Karatsev.

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Sinner launched his Miami Open campaign with a facile 6-2, 6-2 win over rising French star Hugo Gaston on Saturday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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