'Now Children Dream Of Becoming Like Him': How Sinner Changed Headlines In Italy

'Now Children Dream Of Becoming Like Him': How Sinner Changed Headlines In Italy

by Nurein Ahmed

One of Italy's famed sports newspapers - La Gazzetta dello Sport - has been put on the spot for its treatment of Jannik Sinner before and after the Davis Cup triumph.

Sinner steered Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976 at the end of November, with eye-catching wins over Novak Djokovic and Serbia in the semifinals in both singles and doubles.

And less than 24 hours later, he was on hand to complete the assignment as he swatted aside Alex de Minaur and Australia. The concept of team competition is that every member has a role in the team's success.

The plaudits were undoubtedly reserved for the entire Italian team, even those players who never made it in the squad due to injury, like Matteo Berrettini, but found time to travel to Malaga as a spectator.

Never before, at least in recent years of Davis Cup competition, has one player shouldered all the responsibility and almost single-handedly took his country to such heights as Sinner did.

One thing is very much absolute. Novak Djokovic will never lose two tennis matches within five hours. Such was Sinner's stellar form this autumn, and he earned a measure of payback for his defeat to Serbian at the ATP Finals.

Nobody could have envisaged this fairytale story coming to life a few months ago. La Gazzetta dello Sport, in its weekly editorial column, published the jarring headline "National Case" in response to Sinner's withdrawal from the Davis Cup Finals group stage, which he had much to answer.

"Why our No.1 tennis player made a mistake saying no to Davis Cup call up. The big champions of the past, from Pietrangeli to Panatta, explain that you don't turn down the national team."

Sinner garnered all manners of criticism from newspapers and former players back home, with Adriano Panatta admitting, "Tennis players are businesses, and, as such, they only think about profit."

But Sinner was at liberty to pull out from the competition, having just exited the US Open following defeat to Alexander Zverev, in which he was visibly in physical discomfort. His decision was vindicated because he got plenty of rest time.

Sinner played almost flawless tennis during his return in the autumnal swing, winning 17 of his 19 matches between Beijing and the ATP Finals. After a perfect Davis Cup Finals knockout stage, the headline by the same newspaper publicly shamed him changed immeasurably.

"Jannik brought Italy to the top of the world rankings & rekindled his passion, now children dream of becoming like him."


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