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When I see Rafael Nadal, I feel quite nervous: Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner greets Rafael Nadal after their last eight encounter in Paris
Jannik Sinner greets Rafael Nadal after their last eight encounter in Paris
Rudra Biswas
Modified 26 Mar 2021

Teen prodigy Jannik Sinner was recently featured on ATP's popular series "The Last Time With...". The Italian touched upon a wide range of topics in the segment, right from looking up to 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal to his support of Serie A club AC Milan.

When Sinner was asked about when he last met a childhood idol, he was quick to name Rafael Nadal. The 19-year-old added that he always feels nervous when he sees the Spaniard.

"Rafael Nadal, definitely. Always when I see him, I am quite nervous," Sinner said.

Jannik Sinner had traded hits with Rafael Nadal ahead of this year's Australian Open. But that was not the first time the pair were across the net from each other on a tennis court; Sinner had also run into the Spanish bull in the quarterfinals of last year's Roland Garros, losing in straight sets.

Sinner added that he felt the same kind of reverence for Nadal's arch-rival Roger Federer, who made his much-awaited comeback to the tour a few weeks ago in Doha.

"It is the same with Roger," the Italian said. "It is always special to meet them."

"I don’t consider myself to be famous" - Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner at the Dubai Tennis Championships
Jannik Sinner at the Dubai Tennis Championships

Jannik Sinner then narrated an anecdote about watching his favorite team AC Milan take on Lazio during the week of the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals. Incidentally, Sinner won that tournament in great style, defeating Alex de Minaur in the final.

"At the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals, we went to see AC Milan v Lazio," Sinner said. "I think we lost 2-1. I am an AC Milan fan. It was strange because we were the whole group together, with all the Next Gen players."

During the segment, Jannik Sinner also revealed that he doesn't consider himself to be particularly famous at this point of his career. In other words, he doesn't feel comfortable about enjoying the perks that come with his status.

"I don’t like going to restaurants and not paying, because I don’t consider myself to be famous," Sinner said. "For them, I was famous. It was in my [area], where I come from. We went to the restaurant and they said, ‘No, no, it is good'."
"I always like to pay, because for me it is [a sign of] respect to other people," he added. "I wanted to pay and said, 'Come on, let me pay'. I had a normal lunch, but they didn’t let me."
Published 26 Mar 2021, 22:15 IST
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