Shining Sinner Storms Into Top 10 | ATP Tour | Tennis

Jannik Sinner makes history on Monday when he becomes the youngest Italian to crack the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 20-year-old climbed to World No. 9 following his run to the Erste Bank Open semi-finals.

The five-time ATP Tour titlist is the fifth player from his country to break into the elite group, joining Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti, Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini. Overall, Sinner is the youngest man in the Top 10 by more than two years, with Casper Ruud nearing his 23rd birthday.

It is not only impressive that Sinner is in the Top 10 — it is how quickly he got there. The San Candido native skied competitively as a junior and did not turn his focus to tennis until his early teens. Four years ago, he did not have a FedEx ATP Ranking. Now, he is near the very top of the sport.

Sinner’s Ranking This Week Since 2017

 2017  Unranked
 2018  No. 785
 2019  No. 93
 2020  No. 44
 2021  No. 9

Sinner is not blinded by his accolades, though. Far from it. The 20-year-old often speaks about the “long road” that represents his career. He is focussed on the practice or match in front of him, not his impressive rise.

“For sure I don’t want to rush so much,” Sinner said in Indian Wells. “I’m just trying… to play match after match in the best possible way, and we’ll see. [I’m] trying to improve.”

Although Sinner did not begin his ascent until just a few years ago, he quickly earned the respect of his peers and the fans. The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion has consistently held his own against the best in the sport and in many cases challenged them. The Italian, who made his first ATP Masters 1000 final this year in Miami, played Alexander Bublik during that run. The Kazakhstani asked him afterwards if he is human.

“He’s not [human]. That’s a fact,” Bublik said. “I asked him if he’s a human or not because for me, it’s very surprising that the guy at his age has this mental toughness that many, many other players don’t have. I called him a robot a couple of times during the match, but I do it in a very sincere way because he’s a really, really great player.”

Sinner played World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the first time just two weeks later in Monte Carlo. The Serbian won the match, but had high praise for the protégé of Riccardo Piatti, who once worked with Djokovic.

“[Jannik] has got a lot of talent and he has proven that he is the future of our sport. Actually, he is already the present of our sport [having] played a final [in an] ATP Masters 1000 [event] already,” Djokovic said. “He is making big strides in professional tennis.”

Players rave about Sinner’s power, mental toughness, maturity and professionalism. Those traits have propelled him into the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and also into eighth in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, putting him in position to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals with a strong finish to the season. But Sinner is not allowing that to distract him.

“Honestly, I love to play tennis, and this is the reason why I play,” Sinner said in Vienna. “Obviously you would like to go to Turin or you want to win this match or that point, but sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t happen. You have to accept that. Honestly, I just try to play tennis.”