How Sinner Went From National Zero To Italian Hero In Span Of A Few Weeks

How Sinner Went From National Zero To Italian Hero In Span Of A Few Weeks

by Nurein Ahmed

Jannik Sinner sensationally led Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976 following his country's convincing win over Australia in Sunday's final.

A few months ago, Sinner was branded "unpatriotic" by one Italian newspaper after declining a call-up into Italy's team for the Davis Cup Finals group stage. At the time, Sinner had just been eliminated in the fourth-round stage of the US Open.

The 22-year-old felt he needed a longer recovery time after a busy summer in Europe and North America and could not commit to playing in the Davis Cup Finals. That decision was not treated with grace and acceptance back home.

Adriano Panatta, one of the most revered Italian tennis players in history, questioned his priorities, ostensibly stating that he was driven by profits. The criticism was blown out of proportion, with several Italian outlets making references to Sinner's past.

Because of his previous history, where he favored other ATP tournaments over representing his country at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Sinner's head was dragged into the mud, and it seemed all the bridges had been burned.

But there is never a quick turnaround sport like tennis. In a week of redemption in Malaga, Sinner let his tennis be the perfect riposte to all the jarring headlines and critics, who compounded to bring his career in team competitions to a halt.

He was entrusted to confront Novak Djokovic in the tie against Serbia, which he duly succeeded in. After earning a place in the final, Sinner secured the match-clinching rubber, beating Australia's top-ranked player Alex de Minaur.

Panatta, who was part of the last Italian team to win the Davis Cup 47 years ago, called him the "current No. 1 irrespective of the rankings" as quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

How the tune changed. Jannik Sinner made everyone who spoke so glaringly about his commitment to the national team a few months ago eat their own words.


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