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Sinner forces U-turn from Italian star that claimed he ‘thought about profit’


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Jannik Sinner’s success has forced a retired Italian player to change his mind about the 22-year-old after claiming he only “thought about profit” instead of tennis history. Sinner won the Australian Open to become the first Italian man to lift a Grand Slam trophy. since Adriano Panatta in 1976. Panatta has since started raving about the world No. 4, comparing Sinner to Rafael Nadal and conceding that he worked to achieve his goals just months after his scathing review.

Sinner has been enjoying the best few months of his young career. The 22-year-old has lost just two matches since the US Open. At the end of 2023, he picked up two titles in Beijing and Vienna, reached the final of the ATP Finals and helped Italy win the Davis Cup. He carried that form into the new year, winning his first Grand Slam title by beating three top 5 players en route – including Novak Djokovic.

The world No. 4’s Australian Open triumph ended a 48-year wait for a new Italian men’s Grand Slam singles champion after Panatta won the French Open in 1976. Panatta himself previously criticised Sinner and claimed that his countryman was prioritising money when he pulled out of Italy’s team for the Davis Cup group stage in September, citing fatigue.

At the time, the former French Open winner said: “Today, tennis players are businesses and, as such, they only think about profit, especially those around them, forgetting history and feelings. He had already given up on the Olympic Games, today he says no to the Davis Cup. Jannik is tired? [Francesco] Bagnaia, three days after the accident, was already on the bike.”

But the 73-year-old has since done a major U-turn, piling the praise on Sinner for both his Australian Open and Davis Cup achievements. Following Sinner’s five-set victory over Daniil Medvedev in the Aussie Open final, Panatta told OK Tennis: “This victory is worth a lot for Jannik, not only for tennis, where ups and downs are totally normal.

“This applies to the quality of a player who is reaffirming himself as someone who is eligible for splendid achievements. A clean face, a talented worker, someone serious and reliable. On the court he is serene, he appears intelligent and modest, I think I am not exaggerating. For me, Sinner is the best export product our country has.”

It’s a massive contrast to his comments from September, as Panatta now believes that Sinner’s “success in Australia has come because he has worked for it, helped by a group of experienced coaches who pushed him towards his goals” – despite slamming the 22-year-old for his choices just a few months ago. “He was the first to take responsibility for his own ideas, then he chose his coaches, knowing at all times what he wanted,” he added.

While the retired tennis player hasn’t always agreed with those ideas, he is now firmly on Sinner’s side and compared the 11-time title winner’s mentality to that of Nadal. Panatta concluded: “Now he serves as the best servers on the circuit, he has answers for everything, even Djokovic.

“He is a complete tennis player with a mentality that allows him not to fear anyone, he is very cold, he does not tremble at anything. Sinner reminds me of Nadal from the point of view of the head, he never loses focus, not even in a 15-15, he fights from the first ball to the last. Best of all, he still has room for improvement.”

It’s not the first time Sinner has forced Panatta to take back his criticisms. When Sinner helped Italy win the Davis Cup in November, the 73-year-old told Corriere dello Sport: “Saving three match points is a feat within a feat. Next time, Jannik will start with an advantage. Nole fears him. With Jannik, we are good for ten years, he is square and mature.” And he was right, as Sinner just ended Djokovic’s six-year, 33-match winning streak in Melbourne.

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