T Tennis

Italy's tennis legend Nicola Pietrangeli. © ANSA / ANGELO CARCONI / Z4Z

“Sinner? Italy’s number 1 is still me”

Next week, Jannik Sinner will be number 1 in the world - the first player from Italy ever. A tennis legend is reluctant to give up his number 1 status.

Italy is at Jannik Sinner’s feet. In the past few days, the Sesto native has been smiling from all the big newspapers in the boot state; Athletes, politicians and officials praise him to the heavens; Journalists call him the Messiah. In short: the Pusterer enchants an entire country. For the first time in history, an athlete from the Bel Paese will take a seat on the tennis throne, i.e. number 1 in the world rankings.

Australian Open triumph, now number 1 in the world – and all at the tender age of 22. It's unbelievable what Jannik Sinner achieves. And with his historic milestones, many people already consider him to be the greatest tennis player in Italian history. But one person resists this claim: Nicola Pietrangeli, the tennis legend from the boot state.

Jannik Sinner, tennis star from Sexten. © ANSA / ETTORE FERRARI

In an interview with Rai Radio 1 The 90-year-old replied to the question of whether he was still the greatest tennis player in Italy with the following words: “It will be dangerous that Sinner overtakes me. We'll see that at the end of his career. But at the moment I’m still the biggest tennis player in Italy.”

Again and again tips against Sinner

Pietrangeli has won the French Open twice and a total of 44 tournaments in his career. He is also still the most successful player in Italy's Davis Cup history. In the boot state, Pietrangeli has cult and legendary status - his words are heard. That's why it's a bit surprising that the 90-year-old keeps letting himself be carried away by Jannik Sinner against top players.

His statements caused a huge stir, especially in September 2023. At that time, the South Tyrolean skipped the Davis Cup group phase, which caused a lot of discussion. "If you refuse because you are sick, then that's fine. But if you refuse and play a tournament somewhere else, then the association should disqualify you for at least a year," Pietrangeli said at the time. One thing is also clear: Jannik Sinner won't let such statements throw him off course.

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