Jannik's cold head is red


According to mathematical physicists, numbers describe reality better than words. Tennis is no exception. In the three qualifying rounds of the Next Gen Finals, Jannik Sinner was more effective than the other semi-finalists in five of ten parameters chosen arbitrarily by the ATP: the ace, the first service points, points of service, the break points canceled and those collected. Instead it was the worst in the answers to the second service and it is quite far from the percentage points obtained in the first service replies from Alex de Minaur, seeded number 1 and his competitor Saturday night in the final.The data provide valuable information on the performance constraints of the red-haired South Tyrolean: he is suffering if the efficiency of his service falls or he has the feeling of not adequately responding to that of the opponent. In the semifinals he suffered but was able to overcome the difficulties. To betray him, at the beginning, was the concentration, perhaps intimidated by the expectations of the 5500 rowdy of the Allianz Arena. Miomir Kecmanovic, 20 years old, fifth seeded in the Milanese tournament and number 60 in the ATP ranking, known for eliminating Alexander Zverev in the Cincinnati round of 32 in August, opposed an accelerated and inventive Italian game , number 95 ATP. The first set was so decided by the break in the third game obtained by the Serbian, who then no longer took risks (2-4). Situation overturned in the next two partial, with Jannik who – in addition to showing pieces of skill when he recovered a service game from 0-40, superstitiously pretending to always serve with the same ball – quickly conquered the breaks then not recovered by Miomir (4-1 4-2).
Definitely regained security in his shots and grabbed the third break of the match, Jannik had the opportunity to close the fourth set in advance. Impressive the authority with which, at the service, he closed the games (4-2) with the pupil of Novak Djokovic. It's as bright as ever at the end of the game: "I started with a lot of tension, but here people send me energy. Alex de Minaur is a very solid player, we'll see what to do … I'll try to go to the net a lot, also because I know that in the future that will be one of the objectives of the work with my staff ".In the other semifinal, the Australian, finalist beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas last year in Rho and number 18 in the world, replicated the "safely playing with a break" pattern he had practiced with Davidovich Fokina and Kecmanovic in the Italian round. This time Frances Tiafoe left the field open in the third set (0-4) after having dominated the first two (4-2 4-1). In the fourth fraction, balanced, a banal wrong volleys of the American on the 3-2 30 equal has in fact put the seal to the match.

The adventure of the last months of Jannik provides extraordinary growth stimuli for the whole movement. The evidence is that the boy has found within himself and in the advice of his coaches – Piatti, Sartori and Volpini in the first place – the reasons necessary to fully exploit uncommon physical, mental and character qualities. Then, with him, Steve Jobs's "stay hungry, stay foolish" appeal works. For a long time in Italy that exhortation was a dead letter: it was when the teenagers in shorts with a minimum talent and their families immediately suffered sponsorships, privileges and media attention that quenched every motivating hunger and creative madness in four and a half hours. Now we know that, for each generation, only the hundred and fifty strongest tennis players in the world can live with dignity of their work, that fifty or sixty manage to save enough savings to support them in the post-competitive transition, that five or six become multimillionaires. All the others have to make do, after the thin career, to become the masters of the circle. That is not an atonement but an inadequate outcome with respect to the starting ambitions.

The problem, today more than yesterday, is therefore to discover in advance and technically and economically support only the talents with concrete prospects of climbing the ATP or WTA rankings. It is therefore necessary to make the conditions that in the past allowed to rely on the phenomenal Schiavone, Pennetta and Vinci less episodic, to bring out in the last two years Matteo Berrettini, protagonist next week of the London ATP Finals, and Lorenzo Sonego, to create the Sinner phenomenon (Gianni Clerici wrote that "we have never seen a more talented Italian tennis player"), than hope that it will soon be achieved with promising Giulio Zeppieri, born in 2001, and Lorenzo Musetti, 2002. Perhaps some other champions will be the result of the most laudable initiative of BNL-BNP Paribas which, in collaboration with the FIT, awards scholarships to twenty-one boys between 12 and 18 years of age: they will be used to pay for enrollment and the costs of participation in tournaments, psycho-physical growth with the use of specialists, training for their careers as professionals. The money from the bank closest to tennis will help keep the best youngsters on the road. As it happens in many other sectors of Italian society.

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