Jannik Sinner at the 2019 US Open

ONES TO WATCH: Jannik Sinner – Will the young star continue his meteoric rise?

In the latest of a mini-series detailing the players with something to prove in 2020, Toby Oliver profiles young Italian star Jannik Sinner and looks at what he could achieve this season.

At the beginning of 2019, Jannik Sinner was a complete unknown. The young Italian was just starting out on his career. Now, just over 12 months later, he is one of the most exciting young players in the world and has his eyes firmly set on the top 50.

Sinner first started to make waves at a Challenger tournament in Bergamo, Italy. He won the title, becoming the first player born in 2001 to win a Challenger. It saw him break into the top 500 in the world and he hasn’t looked back.

The 18-year-old won two more Challengers in 2019 and got his first wins at ATP Tour level fairly quickly. In October 2019, he claimed his first big scalp. Sinner beat highly talented Frenchman Gael Monfils at the European Open in Antwerp on his way to the semi-final where he lost to three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

These results propelled Sinner into the top 100 and gave him the chance to compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, in front of a home crowd.

The Italian absolutely thrived in the tournament, defying all expectations to go all the way and win the title. The fast and shortened format suited his game style of big serving and powerful groundstrokes. He thrashed 2018 finalist Alex de Minaur to win the title, 4-2 4-1 4-2. The tenacious Australian had no answers to Sinner’s raw power. The result saw him reach a career high ranking of 78 in the world.

For such a young player, Sinner’s game style is incredibly mature. He is very strong off both sides and knows when to come forward to play a volley. This intelligence should serve him well during 2020 and for the rest of his career.

So far in 2020, Sinner got his first win at a Grand Slam. He beat Australian wildcard Max Purcell in the first round before losing to Márton Fucsovics. Then, he achieved his first victory of a player ranked in the top ten. He beat David Goffin in a stunning display at the Rotterdam Open.

Will Sinner be able to keep up his amazing rise this season and make the top 50? Only time will tell.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.