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Exclusive: Sinner says becoming World No. 1 'has the biggest meaning we have in our sport'


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It was a calm day at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the training base for some of the world’s biggest tennis stars and home of the season’s first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event. The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final was played nearly two months ago and the sounds of cheers were replaced by the excitement of juniors training on the same famous courts.

There was one big difference from a typical day at the club, though. Jannik Sinner, who practises at the facility, was presented the ATP World No. 1 presented by PIF trophy by ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

“For sure, it means a lot to me. Being World No. 1, it means you had a great year — actually, an incredible year with a lot of success, and obviously [I am] very happy about this,” Sinner told the ATP in Monte-Carlo. “On the other hand, you always have tournaments. You have to play the biggest tournaments. So that's a huge privilege to be part of, and I'm just looking forward for the next challenges.

“I'm very happy to share this with all my team and the people who are close to me. And I think on the other hand I'm very sure that I can still improve some things and I'm looking forward to it.”

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Sinner explained that while he fielded questions about his pending ascent to World No. 1 during Roland Garros, at the time he was fully focused on preparing for his semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz and did not dwell much on the achievement.

“I had still in my mind the last match. So for sure, I was happy. And it's kind of a relief. This is a dream. [It is] what I have dreamed of when I was a little kid. It was only a dream that day. And now that I can say that I'm World No. 1, it means a lot to me. So it took some time, that's for sure. And it was a very nice feeling,” Sinner said. “Now saying that I'm World No. 1, it's just amazing. We were talking together and seeing [my family] a little bit emotional and also from my side, it's amazing.

“World No. 1 is the achievement I was looking for, and obviously now I have to see how much I can stay there.”

Your new ATP World No. 1 presented by PIF 🏆

ATP Tour Chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, presented Jannik Sinner with the trophy at the Monte-Carlo Country Club 🙌#S1NNER | #PIF | #ATPRankings | #partner pic.twitter.com/OjQQec3kmm

— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 10, 2024

Sinner on Monday became the first Italian singles player, man or woman, to reach the pinnacle of the tennis world since the start of computerised rankings in 1973. He is only the 29th man to climb to World No. 1.

The magnitude of the accomplishment has not escaped the 22-year-old.

“I think it's the biggest meaning we have in our sport. It's the best number you can have. This is everyone's dream, to be in the position,” Sinner said. “Being No. 1 in the world is an achievement that you build in one year's time. And now obviously, we'll see how much I can stay there, and then that's a different challenge.”

The Italian has a good mindset for that. Since his earliest days on the ATP Tour in 2019, Sinner made clear he is driven by the process of trying to improve. He explained that will not change even though he is the No. 1 player in the world.

“I wake up with a goal and then my biggest goal is to get better as a player and as a person. And in my mind, I always was looking forward to working hard, and [I thought] with my work ethic, and then with my mentality, something positive was going to happen,” Sinner said. “It was only a dream to become No. 1 in the world and then if my maximum was No. 3, it was No. 3. But after my career, I want to say that I gave 100 per cent every day. And I think that's my mentality, which I had until now and which I'm going to have until the end of my career.”