Jannik Sinner was given rapturous applause by Milan fans on his return to Italy after his heroics landed Italy their first Davis Cup title since 1976.
The 22-year-old, a boyhood fan of football giants AC Milan, was invited to the iconic San Siro stadium to watch his club in action against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. As the players warmed up, Sinner was introduced to the enthusiastic Milan fans who loudly chanted his name.
Sinner has put together one of the greatest seasons by an Italian tennis player on the ATP Tour. He reached a maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon and won his first-ever Masters title in Canada. He achieved a personal-best ranking of World No. 4, tying highest-ranked Italian man Adriano Panatta on that front.
At this year's ATP Finals which was hosted in his home country, he reached the title match, becoming the first Italian man to achieve this monumental milestone. Despite coming up short in Turin, Sinner made amends in Malaga this past week where he bested Novak Djokovic en route to winning the Davis Cup.
That success has seen Sinner's stock soar and has achieved a hero's status back home in Italy. AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli labeled him an "inspiration" in his program notes before the clash against German club Dortmund on Tuesday night.
"He’s an inspirational figure due to his determination, his talent, his quality, his mentality, and his desire to win every single point. If Jannik attends, we’ll be happy. In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate him, the Italy Davis Cup team, and the captain, Filippo Volandri."
Sinner answered the call to attend Tuesday's match where the crowd went into raptures at the sight of Italy's Davis Cup champion walking through the tunnel and onto the lawns under a slew of photographers. The Milan fans chanted in unison, "Jannik, Jannik, Sinner, Sinner!"