Tennis Prose



Is Sinner A Robot Or A Mannequin?

By Scoop Malinowski

Jannik Sinner is an amazing, dynamic, wonderful champion and marvelous tennis talent. But he may be the most boring major sports figure in the last 25 years.

While the ATP world no. 2 is lighting up the courts with his actions and athleticism, his words make you wonder if he’s a scripted robot mannequin being remote controlled from ATP headquarters.

After winning the Miami Open yesterday by beating Grigor Dimitrov, Sinner might have broken the record for most cliches ever spoken after a title triumph.

“I’m really proud obviously about the result,” Sinner said. “I started off struggling a little bit this week. I haven’t had so much time to adapt on this court, so I knew in the beginning that it’s going to be tough. As the tournament went on, I felt better and better. Today’s performance was really, really good. I’m just proud how I handled the situation. It was not easy, so it was a very, very good two weeks.”

“Staying in the present moment. What it has been, it has been. I just try to improve… And also enjoying the moment. This is a special moment,” Sinner droned on. “You never know if this is the last time or not. So you have to enjoy this for one day, and now a new chapter is coming, clay-court [season] is coming, so completely different. Let’s see how I will play from now on. But for sure, the hard-court season until now has been very good.”

It’s hard to believe the most challenging, macho, demanding, vicious sport in the world is being dragged down by so many dreadful interviews and worthless quotes. Tennis is lacking spontaneity and freedom, like when Marcelo Rios said Muster would be lucky to two or three games off him in Rome. Or all those McEnroe, Goran, Novak, Muster, Roddick interviews.

If Sinner keeps winning and eventually dominating and talking like an AI computer, tennis fans may turn away in droves.

There’s only so many times people can listen to a player talk about staying in the moment, trusting the process and trying to improve a little bit every day.

The time has arrived for the ATP to take some kind of actions, to encourage the players to try to be themselves and original in interviews, not sound like a carbon copy of most every other player.

These are the greatest athletes on earth, with incredible minds and experiences to get to this echelon of professional tennis. Maybe they need to cancel the post match speeches and bring in media people who actually are capable of asking unique questions, such as yours truly with the Biofile.

Because if players keep talking off the Sinner script, the future of tennis may be in trouble. Now is the time to fix this problem.

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  • Matt Segel · April 1, 2024 at 8:51 pm

    Nice! Although I have to say I am a but annoyed by Carlos’s press conferences as well. He comes across as ridiculous.

    Sinner might be the new Pete Sampras, but just a young simple boy who is trying to improve.

    He is an icy competitor. The Gucci vibe… very European. He does drive a lamorghini you know.

    He seems like a very western European champion.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 2, 2024 at 8:11 am

    Matt, Agree, the interviews by Carlos are also almost torture to listen to. Sampras could be edgy at times and he was not a broken record of boring cliches. Pete was lowkey but if was annoyed by a question he would let the reporters know it. I remember one time they were asking him about Steffi Graf’s dominance and how would be try to beat her and he gave a sarcastic funny sharp answer. It’s in my Facing Sampras book I’d need to dig up the exact quotes. Carlos and Sinner would never ever dare to throw some verbal fire at any reporter. Sinner is certainly a killer on court, but an altar boy off it )

  • catherine · April 5, 2024 at 5:35 am

    From a recent Vogue interview:

    As Sinner sees it, one must make peace with the unrelenting pressure of competitive tennis. “This pressure, you have to take it in a positive way,” he told me. “You have to be kind with the pressure. You have to make friendship. If you hate this pressure, it’s the wrong sport for you,
    no? It helps that in tennis there is no time to dwell on the losses or the wins, he added. “The really good and positive thing of tennis is, you have this momentum. The momentum can be positive, happy. And can be negative when you lose. But you live in a momentum. In my mind, everything goes quite fast.”

    Interesting words from a teenager. Maybe we forget how young some of these players are – I think expecting profundities from them is unrealistic. Most have experienced hardly anything of ‘normal’ life and maybe not that much in tennis so far.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 5, 2024 at 8:00 am

    Catherine, I don’t find those quotes remotely interesting or revealing. Just seems a waste of words and cliches to fill up an article. Id rather read a Biofile with Sinner )

    Tennis is a hard game. You have to be precise and mentally strong and get through the ups and downs. You need to work and try to improve every day, trust the process, pressure is a privilege… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • catherine · April 5, 2024 at 9:08 am

    Scoop – you have big expectations. Myself, I don’t believe in press interviews/conferences. Mostly rubbish. But that wasn’t my point.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 5, 2024 at 9:53 am

    Catherine, players are stuck. There is only so many ways to explain tennis but they get the same questions over and over and over every week. Reporter originality is virtually dead. That’s why I invented the Biofile, to add some new life into player interviews. A player can only do a good interview if he gets good questions. People like Chris Evert, George Foreman, Richard Williams, Al Leiter, Troy Polamalu, Tony Stewart all said I ask great questions. Maybe Sinner would too.

  • catherine · April 6, 2024 at 5:04 am

    You’re right – there are ‘only so many ways to explain tennis’. So it will go on and reporters will also go on asking trite questions which yield trite answers.

    I was interested in Sinner’s use of the word ‘momentum’.
    Not sure he knows exactly what it means in English – or he does know and just likes the concept. And the mind moving fast.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 6, 2024 at 8:01 am

    Catherine, the tennis media needs a complete overhaul. I am proud of getting Lleyton Hewitt to say after one of my questions at US OPen, “great question mate.” You know what the question was? “If Federer and Nadal boxed in a winner take all boxing match who would win?” This was back at the height of their rivalry. You can find the answer in my Facing Federer book )

  • Viv · April 14, 2024 at 11:09 am

    Please remember he’s speaking in his THIRD language. How entertaining would you be as a 22 year old using a nonnative tongue? Also Jim Courier manages to get a good interview out of him. You can only work with what you’ve got.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 14, 2024 at 8:43 pm

    Strong points Viv. Forgot it’s his third different language. Hope we find out soon his real personality and character instead of the public image. I’m sure a one on one Biofile would do the trick. Jim Courier is one of the best interviewers in sports.

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