Berliner Tageblatt - Sinner to road-test new number one ranking in Halle

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Sinner to road-test new number one ranking in Halle
Sinner to road-test new number one ranking in Halle / Photo: © AFP

Sinner to road-test new number one ranking in Halle

Jannik Sinner will take his new world number one status for a test run next week at the Halle Open, with the Italian saying on Saturday he is ready to tackle what he admits will be a limited season on grass.

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The 22-year-old, who took over the ATP top ranking spot from Novak Djokovic after the French Open, will use the German event which begins on Monday as his sole competitive warm-up for Wimbledon, beginning July 1.

"This is special for me," he said. "There are not so many grass events for me -- just here and Wimbledon.

"But it's nice to get back onto grass, it's very different. In the first days you have to get used to the movement, which is difficult.

"Then you could face a player in the early rounds who has played already and has feeling for the grass."

The top seed will begin his grass-court season at a stadium designed like a smaller replica of Wimbledon's Centre Court, complete with a moveable roof.

Sinner said he has a soft spot for the event, which he has played only once before, retiring in the quarter-finals last year against Alexander Bublik.

"They gave me a wild card into qualifying (in 2019) so I'm happy to come back here," said the Italian.

"It can only help but build confidence for Wimbledon."

Sinner arrived in Halle this week after a delayed municipal reception at his home village of San Candido in the German dialect-speaking Italian Alps.

He was originally set to make a visit after winning his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but schedule clashes delayed the homecoming.

"It was nice to share this moment with my little hometown," he said. "We all celebrated together and I was able to spend time with the younger kids.

"It was nice to see my friends and family, a good feeling."

The Paris Olympic Games are also in the back of Sinner's mind as he prepares for Wimbledon.

"This will be a unique and special moment in my career, my first Olympics. I'm looking forward to meeting other athletes, see how they train and get to know them.

"The Italian team will be quite big and it's an honour to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to the Olympics."

Sinner will open his grass season in the Halle first round against 23rd-ranked Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.