Jannik Sinner recently spoke at length about Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, highlighting their special qualities. Sinner claimed Nadal and Sharapova are similar in some ways, and that spending time with them helped him improve as a tennis player and also as an individual.
Jannik Sinner's tryst with Maria Sharapova dates back to 2019, when his current coach Ricardo Piatti was working with the Russian. Piatti was the last coach in Sharapova's career, and during his tenure he arranged a few meetings between his client and Jannik Sinner.
During a recent interview with Marca, Sinner detailed some of Sharapova’s attributes that stood out during their interactions. The 19-year-old lavished praise on Sharapova's skills as well as her mindset, and claimed that he tried to imbibe some of her qualities.
"I feel lucky to have met her personally," Sinner said. "I was very impressed by her professionalism. Her tennis was incredible, something that was obvious from her results. She had that kind of different and special mentality that few players have. I tried to understand how to be able to have that character."
Jannik Sinner has also spent time with Rafael Nadal, having been picked as the Spaniard's training partner ahead of the Australian Open this year. Sinner observed Nadal from very close quarters, and during the Marca interview he drew parallels between that experience and his meetings with Sharapova.
The Italian explained that Nadal and Sharapova have not just one, but several characteristics that make them unique.
"It's a bit what happened to me with Nadal in Adelaide," Sinner said. "They do not have just one thing that makes them unique, they are an accumulation of things. Spending time with them makes you improve not only as a tennis player but as a person."
Jannik Sinner then delved deeper into his experience of training alongside Rafael Nadal, and what he learned about the Spaniard. In particular, he highlighted Nadal's kind nature and his ability to separate work from leisure.
"You learn a lot from someone who has won 20 Grand Slams," Sinner continued. "What would stand out the most about him is how kind he was to me and that he is a hard worker. Both Rafa and the rest of his team are normal people; when you have to have fun they have a good time, and in training, they work."
My parents always taught me to respect everyone: Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner is already making a name for himself with his on-court composure, and has also drawn praise for his off-court humility. In that context, Sinner explained that his parents have provided him with the right kind of upbringing. The teenager further stressed that being calm on the court is an essential attribute for any tennis player.
"It all comes from the education I received from my parents," Sinner said. "My father is a cook and my mother is a waitress in the same restaurant and they respect work a lot. They always taught me to respect everyone. Staying calm on the court or, at least trying, is essential for a tennis player. That does not mean that I am not nervous."