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Secrets To Sinner's Surge: Dinner With Sharapova, Quarantining With Rafa

Apr 04 2021

Andrew Eichenholz

Jannik Sinner is the hottest young star in men’s tennis. On Sunday, the 19-year-old will have a chance to become the youngest champion in Miami Open presented by Itau history when he plays Hubert Hurkacz. To understand the teen’s rise, you must know that winning has not been his priority.

In September 2019, the #NextGenATP star was eating dinner a restaurant in Dolceacqua, Italy, less than an hour’s drive from Monte Carlo. Also at the table was his coach, Riccardo Piatti. More notable attendees were former World No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Marat Safin. Sharapova had recently started working with Piatti.

It was a night of friends sharing stories and simply enjoying the evening. But Sinner, who was two when Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2004, was in attendance by design according to Piatti.

“I wanted Jannik to understand the mentality of a No. 1. Maria has priorities,” Piatti told ATPTour.com. “When she is on the court, she is watching the ball, hitting the ball and doing everything perfect. When she plays points, she’s focussed to play the points. When she’s off the court, she’s focussed on the fitness part, physical part. When she finishes everything, she’s social.

“Maria is an example that she has a great mentality to be a champion.”

http://instagr.am/p/B29ExVTgP52/

Up until that point, Sinner was still relatively unknown outside of hardcore fans. The teen had not yet cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, nor had he competed in the Next Gen ATP Finals. But Piatti was desperate for his charge to spend as much time around champions as possible to learn even the smallest lessons from them.

“It’s not me explaining [a lesson], but another one like Nadal or Maria,” Piatti said. “He saw the mentality from these players. Maria was very, very important for me and for him.”

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Nick Bollettieri on why Maria deserves her place in the history books:

One of your greatest success stories was Maria Sharapova, but she doesn’t always get the acclaim she deserves from the tennis community. Will that annoy her?

Maria knows what she did. She is not someone who goes looking for all the publicity to promote her game. Maria is a wonderful individual, a beautiful girl and let the record books speak for themselves. A career Grand Slam is special… that’s all you need to know baby.

 

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From a recent interview with Karman Kaur Thandi, a young Indian tennis player:

Q: Growing up, who were your role models in tennis? And who do you think is the GOAT in the women’s game?

Karman Kaur Thandi: Maria Sharapova has been my role model since forever now. I always loved watching her play on TV.

I love her attitude and the poise she has on and off the court and her game style - aggressive and fighting for every point. So that is what I really admired about her, and that also inspired me while growing up.

With regards to the GOAT, for me, it would be Serena Williams because of all that she has achieved in sports and outside sports, which is really inspiring.

 

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Interesting decision. I don't know that it serves much purpose if it's only really all her social posts grouped together these days. But still have lots of nostalgic feels.

Can remember the ms.com forums way back in the day. Obsessively checking it every week during her first shoulder lay off waiting to see if she'd withdrawn from her next scheduled tournament again or if would be coming back. Many off seasons checking for the next season's tournament schedule.

On Sugarpova, I notice all the truffles are sold out. She used to post a lot on insta stories with like chocolate/truffle bars. Think even sent to some peeps as promo cause seen in other's stories. Did they ever make it on sale officially?
 

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Interesting decision. I don't know that it serves much purpose if it's only really all her social posts grouped together these days. But still have lots of nostalgic feels.

Can remember the ms.com forums way back in the day. Obsessively checking it every week during her first shoulder lay off waiting to see if she'd withdrawn from her next scheduled tournament again or if would be coming back. Many off seasons checking for the next season's tournament schedule.

On Sugarpova, I notice all the truffles are sold out. She used to post a lot on insta stories with like chocolate/truffle bars. Think even sent to some peeps as promo cause seen in other's stories. Did they ever make it on sale officially?
I'm guessing all new developments are being put on hold, not like she can go out and promote it in pop-up shops and the like.
 
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