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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday April 13, 2021

Jannik Sinner is bravely looking forward to facing one of the biggest challenges that tennis has to offer. The 19-year-old Italian is gearing up for a second-round tilt with World No.1 Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, after he comfortably moved past Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a 2017 finalist in the Principality, 6-3, 6-4, on Tuesday.

Tennis Express

Sinner says the fact that Djokovic hasn’t played since winning the Australian Open in February likely won’t be an advantage for him. The Italian knows that Djokovic lives and trains in Monte-Carlo, and he is aware of the fact that 33-year-old 18-time Grand Slam champion knows the courts at the Monte-Carlo Country Club like the back of his hand.

Furthermore, Sinner knows that Djokovic has had plenty of time to rest his body after he fought through an abdominal injury that actually grew from 17 to 25 millimeters during his run to his 18th major title at Melbourne.

It's going to be a tough challenge, no doubt about it, for Sinner.

“I don't think that's important right now because I think he practiced until this time,” Sinner said on Tuesday, of Djokovic's six-week hiatus after Australia. “Obviously I knew that he had pain in the abs, but I think he's good now because he is playing here the tournament. I think he prepared in a good way to be ready here for Monte-Carlo.”

And when it comes to experience, Sinner is wise enough to know that 55 career matches and two titles in Monte-Carlo is a lot to stack up against. Let us not forget that Djokovic also owns a 225-56 lifetime record on the clay with 15 titles. It's daunting, but it's also exactly the experience that the Italian wants to have at this stage of his career, whether he can win or not.

“I think he has more experience than me, obviously,” Sinner, who is making his Monte-Carlo debut, said. “I don't [know if] that's an advantage or not. I played today one match which can give me a little bit the feeling back on clay. I'm looking forward to a great battle, trying to play my tennis, trying to, yeah, make my tennis.”

Sinner will take the familiar approach to the contest. The 19-year-old is all about the process and improving his tennis step by step. Rather than be stressed about the challenge that lies in wait, he is determined to embrace the moment focus on getting as much out of the experience as is possible.

The World No.22 has just 71 matches to his name, and he’s a firm believer in the “win or learn” mentality.

He's the player that left Australia this winter saying that the best experience he had was spending two weeks in quarantine practicing with Rafael Nadal. The fact that he won his second career title in the lead-up and then lost to Denis Shapovalov in five sets in the first round at the Australian Open didn't seem to matter as much. He's all about tacking on wisdom and pushing himself to take his game further. He'll dwell on specific results in a couple of years, but for now he's more interested in growth.

“I will definitely have a game plan trying to make my game plan happen, which is my first thing to do,” he said. “Obviously I know who is on the other side. I mean, obviously it's a tough match I think from my side because I don't know him that well. Obviously seeing him a lot in TV, watching matches. But when you play against in a match it's different. I'm looking forward to that match.

“It's a good test for my side to see where I am, especially where I can improve. I know where I can improve, but this kind of match can give me a lot. I just try to go there with the right mentality like in every match and we will see what's happening.”


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