Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi (photo welovetennis)
“I’m not surprised at the level Sinner has reached in the last few weeks. I know what tennis can express and what we can see in the future. He still has a lot of room for improvement and that’s exactly why working with Jannik is exciting.” This is how Darren Cahill’s beautiful and interesting interview beginsTrainer of Jannik Sinner, al Corriere dello Sport (for colleagues Nitsegorodcew – Ercoli). The Australian has gained very important coaching experience in the past by coaching champions such as Agassi, Murray, Hewitt and Halep and is now making a significant contribution to Sinner’s growth by leading Italy in Davis in the Malaga final and becoming a finalist in the final and No. 4 in the world. In the interview, Cahill talked about many aspects of the game, development and work with Jannik, which he shares with Simone Vagnozzi, a coach he particularly values for his knowledge of the game. “For two coaches to work well together, it is first necessary that they are willing to work together, establish rules and support each other. And that’s how it was. Simone is the first voice, the “main coach,” and it is an honor to work with him. “I believe that in 20 or 30 years we will be calling him one of the best coaches in the world,” Cahill said.
For Darren, there are few players of Sinner’s age who are so determined: “When you think about the past, the Swedes Borg and Wilander or some Australians, including Cash, come to mind. The pressure on the big stages didn’t crush them, but rather pushed them to do better. And that’s exactly what happened to Jannik in the Davis Cup over the last three months After the US Open he has matured a lot in every respect. He understands the game better and better, he knows his body even better, he listens to it. It’s seemingly small details that make the difference. The work with Umberto Ferrara (the athletic trainer, editor’s note) over the last two years has borne great fruit: Jannik is much stronger, more resilient and also faster.”
“The triumph in Canada was very important because it was the first ‘big tournament’, it was a stepping stone; But in addition to this title, the successes in the top 10 and top 5 also had a major influence. In this year 2023, he understood many aspects of the ATP cycle. He has learned many lessons. We went to school. Jannik was inspired by defeats and disappointments. He understood what and how needed to be improved. In the last few months he has clarified the connections.”
2022 was a year full of ups and downs, injuries and some disappointments for Jannik, but for Cahill it was very important: “2022 was a year full of lessons, albeit with good results.” I believe that Vagnozzi was a stroke of luck for Jannik because technically speaking he is one of the most prepared coaches I have ever met. Because I have a lot of experience on the track, my job was more to understand the right direction for the team and make sure everyone followed that direction. At the end of last season I also understood how much Jannik cares about the national team. The Paris Bercy injury had prevented him from playing in the Davis Cup final and he was very disappointed.
“Dishes? Riccardo laid Jannik’s foundation and did an incredible job. But I’ve coached a lot of players and sometimes it’s nice to deal with a new voice, different opinions, a new pair of eyes. A new inspiration and direction. Maybe in three years Jannik will need new impulses and choose a different coach. For the professional tennis player, change is often important. I believe that Jannik is called to achieve great goals regardless of his coaches, that is clear to everyone.”
This is where Jannik has improved the most for the Australian: “I would say the backhand slice that he has been working on for a long time with Simone over the last few months. It is a technical aspect that has allowed him to make even better use of his main weapon: the forehand. One of the most incredible fundamentals I’ve seen in my entire career.
There is still a lot of work ahead for Cahill: “The willingness to change is one of Sinner’s characteristics: if he has to change his diet, he will do it; If we change the training routine, he won’t have a problem with it. And of course that will also be reflected in the game. He is willing to do it, to overcome his limitations, to sacrifice himself to become better. Working with an athlete like Jannik is a privilege. However, there will be some technical and tactical innovations in the next 18 months. It will take time to assimilate them.
A nice moment for Sinner, results and more: “He enjoys spending time with his peers and also with people my age. Jannik is like flowing water: it is constantly in motion and creates waves that unfold where they are needed. He is able to adapt his personality, humor and tremendous competitiveness to feel comfortable in any environment. It also happened in Malaga. As? He completely absorbed the Davis surroundings. In the tenth final he looked like a veteran. It is a great achievement of Jannik that comes from the depths of his being.”
Winning a Slam is now a goal: “I firmly believe that Jannik will win a Slam, that’s the goal. I don’t know when, but he’ll be able to do it. You need resilience, trust and even a bit of luck. His potential knows no limits. We have to be good at not putting pressure on him.
Cahill talks about Sinner’s schedule in the coming weeks: “Jannik will take a well-deserved break, a dozen days, because it’s been a busy few months. He will not play the first week of the tournament in Australia. The preparation will be carried out in Spain for 2/3 weeks: first the physical part with Umberto Ferrara and then the technical part with Simone. He will play a few matches at the Kooyong Classic, a very competitive and useful exhibition that takes place in Melbourne before the Australian Open. The Olympic Games are a top priority for Jannik, who enjoys playing for Italy. The Olympic Games are already on our agenda.”
Darren’s photo of Jannik off the field: “Smiles, always smiles. Very nice, intelligent and even more competitive: the worst moment of his day is when he loses at cards against some of us! All joking aside, the energy it exudes is captivating.”
A portrait of a great champion who makes Italian fans dream and who will present himself as one of the men to beat in 2024.