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Showed him matches of Rafael Nadal, Federer & Djokovic, but only the parts where they play badly: Jannik Sinner's coach

Jannik Sinner during his match against Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
Jannik Sinner during his match against Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
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Modified 16 Nov 2020, 17:33 IST
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Riccardo Piatti, the coach of Italy's teenage phenom Jannik Sinner, recently revealed one of the unique methods he uses to train the 19-year-old. Piatti said he shows Sinner the matches of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but not of the parts where they are at their best.

The aim of this approach is to ensure that the teenager understands how every player goes through periods where they don't play as per their usual standards.

"There is a lot of work behind it. His team and I try to simplify the situations he can find in the match as much as possible," Piatti said. "I showed Jannik a lot of matches of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but only the parts where they play badly. You have to realize that it will happen to him too and learn how to get out of those situations."

Jannik Sinner has been earmarked for potential superstardom by experts and fans alike. The teenager won his first ATP title on Saturday in dramatic fashion, beating Vasek Pospisil in the Sofia Open final via a deciding set tiebreak.

In the process, Sinner became the youngest Italian player to win a tour title in the Open Era, and also the youngest player overall to win an ATP title since Kei Nishikori in 2008.

Jannik Sinner will end the season at a new career-high ranking of No. 37. He had broken into the top 200 for the first time as recently as July 2019, and Piatti's coaching has played an instrumental role in his meteoric rise.

One of the most impressive parts of Jannik Sinner's game is his versatility, but Piatti explained how that can become work against him at times.

"Sometimes it can become counterproductive, I always tell him that he must choose simple solutions instead of difficult ones," Piatti said.

According to the 62-year-old, Jannik Sinner is completely focused on his tennis career and has an incredible thirst for knowledge of the game. He added that he uses a positive approach while coaching Sinner, and that he prefers to show him ways to succeed rather than giving examples of the failures of other hyped-up teenagers.

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"Jannik is a single-minded boy, he likes tennis, he wants to know a lot about tennis. There are people who take care of everything else," Piatti said.
"I don't see why I should (remind him of those who have not fulfilled their expectations). The best education is not to fear, but to show the way. Because there is still a long way to go," he added.

Jannik Sinner plays with a lot of power, delivering great shots: Rafael Nadal after their Roland Garros QF

Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner after their French Open quarterfinal
Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner after their French Open quarterfinal

In his short career so far, Jannik Sinner has played just once against Rafael Nadal, and never against Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. Sinner lost to Rafael Nadal at the quarterfinal stage of the French Open in straight sets, but his performance was good enough to earn high praise from the Spaniard.

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“Jannik Sinner is a talented youngster,” Rafael Nadal had said after his win in Paris. “He plays with a lot of power, delivering great shots. It was a challenging battle for two sets, especially in the closing stages of the first, when I got lucky to pull that break back at 5-6. The conditions were a bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard."
"It wasn’t easy to move Jannik away from the comfort zone," Rafael Nadal had added.
Published 16 Nov 2020, 17:33 IST
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