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Jannik Sinner refuses to blame Montpellier loss on back pain, says he "messed up from a mental point of view"

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 25 Feb 2021
News

Jannik Sinner refused to blame his first-round loss at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on his back injury. Sinner was defeated in three sets by Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene, and the Italian later claimed that he didn't adopt the right strategies after getting off to a good start.

Jannik Sinner won the first set 6-3, but Aljaz Bedene fought back to win the second 6-2 and the third 7-6 (7-3). Sinner took a controversial medical timeout while trailing in the tiebreaker to get help for a back issue, but that didn't help him alter the result.

Speaking after the match, Jannik Sinner took full responsibility for the loss, claiming that the back pain had 'nothing to do with it'.

"Back pain? It has nothing to do with it, it's 100% my fault and my game," Sinner said. In Melbourne (against Bedene), I was more aggressive but today I messed up especially from a mental point of view. After the first set, I went on without an idea, or rather I had one but it was wrong."

Aljaz Bedene, who has now improved to 2-1 in the head-to-head against Jannik Sinner, opined that he was able to win because he cut down on errors and stayed focused on the key points.

"In the first set, [Sinner] was the better player… Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it," Bedene said. "On the important points, I was there. I didn’t lose my focus."

After back-to-back losses, Jannik Sinner will be hoping to rediscover his form in Rotterdam

Jannik Sinner with the winner
Jannik Sinner with the winner's trophy at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne, Australia

After winning the Sofia Open to end the 2020 season, Jannik Sinner got off to a great start in 2021 as he clinched the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne. Sinner had defeated Bedene during his title run in Melbourne, where he played five days in a row due to the scheduling challenges.

Playing his sixth match in as many days, the Italian lost a five-set thriller to Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Australian Open.

Jannik Sinner will now be hoping to rediscover his winning form at next week's ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Sinner has received a wild card into the main draw, which has five of the world's top 10 players in the fray.

Sinner will need to battle against the likes of No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Alexander Zverev and No. 8 Andrey Rublev among others for the title.

Published 25 Feb 2021
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