Jannik Sinner opens up his Rotterdam Open campaign this morning in his first match since the Australian Open. But for the Italian, despite this being a change he has to get used to, the ABN AMRO is a familiar stomping ground.
Sinner got a wildcard when he started his career and admitted that he feels loyalty to the tournament. This after the Italian decided against playing Marseille the previous week and he halted his comeback until Rotterdam.
DRAW 2024 Rotterdam Open (ABN AMRO) headlined by Jannik SINNER, Andrey RUBLEV and Holger RUNE
"This tournament believed in me four years ago. I was 18 and got a wildcard. It was a chance to experience something new. I won over David Goffin, my first win over a player in the top 10. And last year I played well and reached the final. So I definitely feel loyalty to Rotterdam. I hope to repeat some of my play from last year this week," said Sinner during his pre-tournament press conference as per Dutch media.
Fanfare back home in Italy a 'strange experience'
Anointed the king during his ATP Finals by Gazzetta Dello Sport, the fanfare ultimately from winning a Grand Slam was always going to be nuts back home in Italy and he said that while he was training in Monaco getting ready for the next stage of the season, it was his parents that had a celebrity like experience.
''That is indeed a strange experience. I don't particularly like reading about myself, but it's nice of course. It means people care.''
''My parents called and said there are constantly journalists at their house. They are happy for me and proud, but that's it. They don't want to be famous or talk to the press. I see it as my job to protect them. That is why I am always careful about talking about my private life.''
For Sinner though it is important to enjoy the sport, but also not dwell too much on the past and look forward. 'Win or lose, it's momentum. When I stop playing tennis, I want to be able to say I enjoyed every moment. The most important thing for me is not what you have achieved, but who you have been allowed to work with. I have such a great team behind me now, with friendly people I can trust. After my career, I can call them and talk about it, because they were there.''
Sinner admits though that what comes with his Australian Open win is a double edged sword with more respect but also more players know now what they have to do to beat him. "I feel more respect in the tennis world now. But opponents also know me much better, they know where my weaknesses are. And they have nothing to lose against me, can play freely. I know difficult times are also coming, I have to be prepared. That's why I immediately started training again