Jannik Sinner says practicing with Novak Djokovic was absolutely no preparation for actually playing him competitively.
Sinner ran into Djokovic in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon on Tuesday, and he found out himself just how tough it is to beat the former world number one in a Major.
The 20-year-old started the match nervously but was able to establish a two-set lead as he attempted to cause a huge shock on Centre Court.
However, Djokovic came roaring back to win the match and extend his Wimbledon winning streak to 26 matches - and taught Jannik Sinner an important, yet painful, lesson in the process.
"I think we have a similar style of tennis," Sinner said afterwards. "In the first days of competition, we were practicing together on the grass, and you always learn things from him.
"It's not the same when you play against him in a match of training than doing it in an official match and in a tournament like Wimbledon.
"You play in front of a lot of people, and that's special."
Despite the defeat, Jannik Sinner produced his joint-best Grand Slam result at Wimbledon.
He also produced what was probably his best ever performance at a Major when he beat Carlos Alcaraz in the round of 16.
He said he leaves London with his head held high, and so he should.
"Playing against players like Djokovic is great, because I'm a person who likes to challenge myself and likes to compete against the greatest.
"I train every day to play matches of this calibre. I know I still have a lot to improve, but I think I can be happy after the tournament I've done. I showed a good level of tennis."
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