Jannik Sinner, the great talent of Italian tennis at the age of 21, is playing against Carlos Alcaraz for more than just a place in the Indian Wells Masters 1000 final on Saturday.
Victory would allow him to move up to ninth in the rankings, his best as a professional tennis player.
Sinner has already gotten off to a strong start in 2023 with the title in Montpellier and by reaching the final in Rotterdam, before he then withdrew due to fatigue from Marseille and also missed Dubai. He has now returned with his batteries recharged in the first Masters tournament of the calendar.
Jannik Sinner vs Carlos Alcaraz: A new rivalry in tennis
The Italian is looking at Alcaraz, a player two years younger than him and who has already been a Grand Slam champion and world number one.
Their rivalry is destined to mark an era, like that of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Despite their youth, they have already met on four occasions, with the spoils being shared with two wins each.
“We have a good relationship off the court, we are friends,” Sinner declared.
“There is a very positive rivalry between us and he is going to make me better,” added Alcaraz.
Alcaraz and Sinner are old acquaintances and their first clash took place in 2019, at the Alicante Challenger, organized at Equelite, Juan Carlos Ferrero’s Academy.
The Italian player arrived with a streak of 16 consecutive victories and fate brought him up against Alcaraz in the first round, with the Spaniard winning in three sets (6-2, 3-6, 6-3).
The behemoth sportswear brand, Nike, has bet on them both as the future of the sport by signing the pair to long-term deals, just as they did with Nadal and Federer years ago.
Who is Jannik Sinner?
Jannik was a skiing star in slalom and he became Italian youth champion in 2008, all because his parents Johann and Siglinde worked in a restaurant at the foot of the Fiscalina Valley.
“My father was a cook and my mother a waitress, she was always an inspiration,” he explained.
“They always taught me to respect everyone.”
But, Sinner also loved tennis and soon stood out from the other players of his generation because of his enormous maturity on the court.
Having just come of age, and after receiving an invitation, he won the 2019 ‘Next Gen’ Masters in Milan. Alcaraz would go on to win the same tournament two years later.
“I think every day there is a lesson, whether you do something good or something bad,” the Italian told the official ATP website.
“I learnt a lot from the time when I played Futures against people much better than me.”
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- Tennis: Jannik Sinner: From potential skiing champion to the future of tennis alongside Alcaraz
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