Quiet assassin Jannik Sinner has managed to maintain his anonymity despite a world No. 4 ranking during the long ATP tennis season which swings across the world.
But the Italian who reached the weekend title match at the ATP Finals 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1 over Daniil Medvedev – the first Italian ever to do so – admits that one of his unmistakable physical attributes makes it hard to blend into the crowd.
“The only issue that I have red hair, so it’s easy to recognise me,” the 22-year-old said after his two-and-a-half-hour victory.
“Things change when I have a cap on, so it’s good.”
Sinner has won the hearts of local fans in Turin during his undefeated run to the Sunday final.
And the quiet life of the former child ski racer from the German-speaking Alto Adige north may soon be a distant memory.
“I’m not looking for attention off the court, If people recognise me, it is a good feeling, nice feeling. “I guess it’s a good problem to have in one way. In the other way.”
But there is also another side to fame: “Sometimes when you want to go to eat something normally in a restaurant, it’s a little bit different,” he said.
“Honestly, I don’t care so much how famous I am because I always have done normal things. I am a normal boy or man, getting (to be) a man now.
“There are some things that change, but in the other way it’s all good.Sinner has been supported in recent months by an ad hoc group of fans, the orange-clad Carota (Carrot) Boys.They front up to matches in bright orange onesies and orange fright wigs in homage to their idol’s mop of ginger hair and cheer incessantly for their hero.
“(They are) personalised fans, so it’s good to have them. I’m happy for them.
“They are friends (since) they were three years old or four years old. They
have grown up together. They know each other really well.
“I got to know them not so long ago. It’s important for me that I get to know these kind of people.
“They have a good impact on the Italian crowd. They make things also a little bit more funnier in one way… so it’s good.”
“This year in New York, you could see them in the stadium because they are a little bit different.”