Former French Open champion Adriano Panatta recently waxed lyrical about countryman Jannik Sinner’s ball-striking ability and baseline game. Panatta also likened Sinner’s physique to that of the famous Disney character Goofy.
At 19 years of age, Jannik Sinner has already made a name for himself on the tour. Even though the teenage phenom failed to win a maiden Masters 1000 at Miami, his performance throughout the event was nothing short of spectacular.
Speaking about his compatriot after the Miami final, Adriano Panatta marveled at the sheer power on Sinner's groundstrokes. The 70-year-old even went on to claim that he hasn't seen a player generate as much raw power since Juan Martin del Potro, who was famed for his missile-like forehand.
"Jannik Sinner is very strong, I've never seen a tennis player hit so hard lately, maybe Del Potro did," Panatta said. "In the game from the baseline, he is almost unbeatable, at the levels of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal."
Jannik Sinner’s groundstrokes are amongst the heaviest on the ATP tour. Over the last couple of years, Sinner's backhand has been generating an average of around 1800 RPMs (revolutions per minute).
The 19-year-old can also hit 70 miles an hour regularly on his groundstrokes, and even touch the 80 mark on occasion. To put that in perspective, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic all average around the 67 mph mark in terms of power generated.
But Jannik Sinner's slender physique has come under scrutiny on occasion, especially given his earlier tendency to run out of gas in longer matches. Many former players have claimed that the teenager needs to bulk up to take his game to the next level.
Adriano Panatta on his part pointed out similarities in Sinner’s physical frame and that of Goofy (from Disney).
The 70-year-old explained that the teenager doesn’t need a beefy body to generate power, since he has immaculate technique.
"Jannik has this body that looks like Walt Disney's Pippo (Italian name for Goofy)," Panatta said. "Slender, a bit slouching, yet he pulls crazy shots because he hits well. A lot of muscles are not even needed, he's all technique."
Jannik Sinner’s only flaw is that he tweets in English: Adriano Panatta
Joking about Jannik Sinner’s lack of flaws, Adriano Panatta rued the fact that the youngster tweets in English instead of his mother tongue.
"The only flaw is that he tweets in English," Panatta said. "But what does this mean? He should be much closer to the Azzurri fans who love him so the advice is to tweet in Italian."
When asked about Jannik Sinner’s Grand Slam prospects, Adriano Panatta claimed he couldn't give an exact prediction. But the former player opined that even though Sinner could lay his hands on a Major within the next year, a lot would depend on the external factors.
"When will he win the Grand Slam? I don't know, this year or next," Panatta added. "He has all the potential to make a career at the top of the world but he is young and then he depends on many things, in life you never know."