Jannik Sinner recently disclosed that he has traded hits with five-time Major winner Maria Sharapova, who retired two years ago. During a press conference after his win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round of the Dubai Open, the young Italian showered praise on the former World No. 1.
The teenage phenom has enjoyed a steep rise in the men’s ATP rankings under the tutelage of Ricardo Piatti, who coincidentally coached Sharapova in 2019. In that context, the World No. 10 was asked what personality traits of the Russian icon he admired the most.
The Italian replied that Sharapova had an “incredible mindset,” before claiming he was lucky to have had a chance to interact with her.
“Of course, the mentality. She had an incredible mindset. I was lucky to get to know her a little bit more.” Sinner said.
He then revealed that he had practiced a few times with Sharapova, calling her a “very special person.”
“We practice also a couple of times together on court. She is a very special person I think,” he added. “And what she has done for the sport is also great. Yeah, I think I was just lucky to get to know her.”
Sinner and Piatti parted ways earlier this month, with the Italian roping in new coach Simone Vagnozzi.
“I think Olympics is something special” – Jannik Sinner on 2022 Beijing Games
During the interview, Sinner was also asked whether he had followed Italy’s campaign at the recently-concluded Winter Olympics. The World No. 10 said that although he couldn’t watch the Games live, he did manage to catch a few highlights.
“I didn’t had so many chances. I’ve watched some highlights obviously, but I didn’t had the chance to see it live because it was always in the night or early morning so I didn’t have the chance. It’s always nice,” the Italian said. “Yeah, I think Olympics is something special.”
The Italian also made sure to spare some kind words for his compatriots, who won 17 medals at the Beijing event.
“Many, many Italians have done so great. Also, some south Tyrolean guys where I’m from have done great,” he added.
Jannik Sinner, meanwhile, defeated former World No. 1 Andy Murray 7-5, 6-2 earlier on Wednesday to reach the last eight in Dubai.
The Italian has made a good start to the 2022 season, winning all of his singles fixtures in the ATP Cup and making the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. He will look to continue his good form in the latter stages in Dubai.