Sinner reveals advice Federer gave him in Halle

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2024

In June 2019, a 17-year-old Jannik Sinner was walking around the players’ on-site hotel at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, where he was competing as a wild card in qualifying. Suddenly he was intercepted by Severin Luthi, the coach of then nine-time Halle champion Roger Federer.

“I remember Luthi stopping me on the on the stairs of the hotel and asking me if I could warm [Federer ] up for his match,” Sinner told on Saturday prior to this year’s edition of the grass-court ATP 500. “I said, ‘Of course, yes.’ It was a very good feeling, a special feeling.”

Swiss legend Federer went on to lift his 10th and final title in Halle that year. Sinner this year competes as the top seed and, for the first time in his career, as the No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings. Even if the pair never got to face off in a competitive match, the 22-year-old Italian still retains the advice passed down to him by Federer.

“I didn’t have the chance to play against Roger in an official match, and this is something that I will always miss, but I do remember the practice sessions with him,” reflected Sinner. “I didn’t have many, so I do remember every single one, more or less. He gave me just kind of mental advice: Try to enjoy it and keep looking forward to working hard. That’s the only thing he told me, and it was very nice to share a court with him.”

Sinner arrives in Halle having racked up a 33-3 record the season, a tally that includes his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Having cracked the major code at this year’s Australian Open and now become the first Italian World No. 1 in history, could winning a maiden tour-level grass-court title be the next milestone the 22-year-old hits in 2024?

“It would be very special, because you don’t have so many grass-court tournaments throughout the year,” said Sinner. “It’s only here and Wimbledon where I am playing, so I have only two chances [this year]. But in general, it’s great to be back on grass.

“It’s different. The first day you have to go through the movements on the surface and it’s difficult, especially when you play the first rounds against players who played already on grass. They have a little bit of feeling, but this is a place where they believed in me, they gave me a wild card in qualies back in the day. So I’m happy to come back here and hopefully I can show some good tennis early on.”

Sinner is not likely to be given long to settle on the German grass by his first-round opponent Tallon Griekspoor. The Dutch World No. 23 reached the semi-finals this week on home soil in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where he won the trophy in 2023. Sinner will enter their Halle clash with a 4-0 lead in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

“It will be very difficult. In general he plays well on grass,” said Sinner in German of Griekspoor at his pre-tournament press conference. “He does a lot of serve and volley. He volleys very, very well. It will be a very difficult match, but I’m looking forward to playing on grass.

“It will be a good test for me, for my first match on grass, to see where my level is. I will give everything, and I’m looking forward to the crowd here. The atmosphere is good and I will simply try to enjoy it.”


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