Davis Cup captain Filippo Volandri has backed Jannik Sinner to became the greatest Italian player of all time.
Sinner managed to play himself into the top 35 in the world last season, and he is expected to rise further, with many tipping him to break into the top ten possibly by the end of the year.
And while Volandri is keen not to put pressure on Sinner, he admits he sees a big future for the 19-year-old.
“He is a boy who is forging ahead thanks to hard work and clear ideas,” Volandri told il Fatto Quotidiano.
“It will be enough to give him the necessary time for improvement.”
The greatest Italian player to date is Adriano Panatta, who reached world number four, was a French Open champion, and was the only man to beat Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros.
Volandri, though, thinks Sinner can surpass him.
“Fourth in the world? Even beyond, his coach says so. He will be able to win a Grand Slam. Players like Jannik are not born every year.”
The excitement of Volandri is easy to understand given the talent that will be available to him for the Davis Cup.
Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner, and Lorenzo Musetti are rich young talents, and Fabio Fognini is still a top 20 player.
Volandri, though, does not believe they can yet lay claim to being the biggest ever Italian tennis talent pool.
“Not at the moment,” he said. “Panatta was number four, Corrado Barazzutti number seven, and then there was also one of the strongest doubles in the world.
“But I’m very lucky, I won’t struggle to field a competitive team.
“It will be difficult to decide, but it is a privilege to have such a large squad.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?