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'The only difference between Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner is 20 Grand Slams,' jokes coach

Rafael Nadal thumbs up

The coach of Jannik Sinner, Riccardo Piatti, has said that the young Italian has huge potential and joked that the only thing separating him from his idol Rafael Nadal is 20 Grand Slam titles.

Sinner, at 19 years old, is attracting attention from tennis fans and other players alike, not only for his on-court performances but his maturity and mental strength under pressure.

Two of his Miami Open defeated opponents have seemed genuinely surprised by the quality of Sinner's game and have spoken out in support of the youngster this week.

Firstly Alexander Bublik said Sinner was 'not human' after their quarter-final match. Then Roberto Bautista Agut followed by saying he had 'something special' after losing their semi-final clash in three sets.

Now Sinner is following in the footsteps of his idols, becoming one of only four teenagers to reach the final of the Miami Open with Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal going before him.

And according to Piatti, this isn't the only similarity with the Spanish Champion, who invited Sinner to train with him earlier this year ahead of the Australian Open.

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“Of course I was very happy, because you need to live with these guys" said Piatti after getting the call from Nadal's coach Carlos Moya for Sinner to be his practice partner.

"These guys are quite simple and focused about what they are doing and Jannik likes [this] and he understands that Rafa is quite similar to him.

"The only difference is he won 20 Slams. Small difference,” Piatti said, with a laugh.

“He understands, ‘Okay, if I do everything correct and I’m young and I need to continue like this, I can reach some of my dreams.’ It was in the perfect moment of his career.

“I think that these 14 days for Jannik were perfect to understand Rafa’s mind.”

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