"At only 20, the boy was not prepared for controversy, but needed it to mature"- Riccardo Piatti on backlash to Jannik Sinner's Olympics withdrawal 

Jannik Sinner and Riccardo Piatti
Jannik Sinner and Riccardo Piatti

In a recent interview with Corriere della Sera, Jannik Sinner's coach Riccardo Piatti spoke about the Italian's decision to skip the Tokyo Olympics last year and the backlash he subsequently received. Piatti said the criticism leveled at Sinner was unwarranted, but helped him develop into a more "mature" player.

Sinner opted not to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics as he wanted to focus on developing his game. He was criticized by a large section of the tennis community, including Fabio Fognini and former Roland Garros champion Adriano Panatta, for skipping such an important event.

However, according to Piatti, Sinner had to give the Games a miss in order to work on his serve. The coach also highlighted that most people took aim at the young Italian without knowing all the details.

“I'm glad he decided not to go to the Olympics, even though it wasn't something he was prepared for. At that time we were changing the service, so President Binaghi understood quickly, others not so much. Jannik has suffered criticism, there were many players who spoke without knowing," said Piatti.
"At only 20 years old, the boy was not prepared for controversy, but at the same time he needed it to mature and meet people. He is still very young, a long career awaits him," added the coach.
Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open 2022
Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open 2022

Piatti, who has previously coached the likes of Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, also spoke about Sinner's 2021 season. According to the coach, Sinner's most important lessons came from the losses he suffered.

“The most important thing in 2021 was the losses. For example, the one he had against Tiafoe in Vienna helped him mature a lot for the future. Had he won, he would have entered the ATP Finals as a starter," mentioned Patti.
"Only by learning from those moments can you grow, you have to keep facing that possibility of losing, there is no other way," he added.

Riccardo Piatti wants Jannik Sinner to win a Grand Slam title in 2022

Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open 2022
Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open 2022

In the same interview, Piatti revealed that Sinner's objective for the 2022 season is to feature in about "55-60 matches" and qualify for the ATP Finals at the end of the year. He also hopes his charge can win a Grand Slam title in 2022.

Piatti also pointed out that despite breaking into the top 10, Sinner hasn't made a huge impact as yet.

"The objective this season is to play 55-60 matches at the highest level, advance in the Grand Slam tournaments and play the ATP Finals as a starter. As a coach, it's clear that I want to win a Grand Slam, I think that's normal, so does Jannik, who is already in the top 10. But to be honest, he hasn't done anything yet," concluded Piatti.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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