Jannik Sinner says he learnt a “big, big lesson” in preparing for the Australian Open by practicing with Rafael Nadal, after losing in the first round to Denis Shapovalov.
The up-and-coming Italian was more than a match for Canada’s 11th seed, taking him all the way to five sets before Shapovalov claimed a 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory in a match which finished in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Melbourne time.
The world number 32 said his time in Australia was in no way a wasted experience, as he reflected on training with 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal.
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“I think practice with Rafa” answered Sinner, when asked what was the biggest lesson he learnt during his time Down Under.
“It's a big, big lesson. Even today I lost, but, you know, I have to understand why I lost and then it's going to be a big lesson, as well, I think.
“So it's not the only one but I think firstly to come here, the reason why we came here was to practice with Rafa for two weeks, because I think he can give me many things about how to stay on court with the right mentality and I think that's the biggest lesson.
“Even today it's, for me, mentally tough losing here in the fifth, but it's going to be a lesson, as well.”
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Sinner believes Shapovalov’s serving was the difference in a match with little to separate the players, but he’s delighted he has the chance to step on to a match court again.
“Over the lockdown I have missed competing. I'm here to compete.
“I'm already looking forward to improve day after day, and playing next tournament with the right mentality.”
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