Published On: Fri, Nov 17th, 2023
Sports | 4,898 views

ATP Finals star using F1 doctor to help him topple Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz | Tennis | Sport

Jannik Sinner is using a doctor known for his work with Formula One drivers to aid the mental pressures he faces in professional tennis. The Italian is attempting to topple the likes of Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz and Dr Riccardo Ceccarelli is helping him do it.

Sinner is currently the world No 4 but is still waiting for his first appearance in Grand Slam final. The 22-year-old reached the last four at Wimbledon in July before he was defeated at SW19 for the second year in a row by Djokovic.

He is ending the season in fine form, winning all three of his group matches at the ATP Finals in Turin this week to reach the semi-finals. Sinner beat Djokovic on Tuesday for the first time in his career at the fourth time of asking.

There is no doubting his talent but what often separates good sports men or women from the best is a mentality to win at the highest level at the most pressurised moments. Dr Ceccarelli started working with F1 drivers in the late 1980s.

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And he has branched out into tennis, collaborating with the Piatti Tennis Centre in 2021. Sinner is one of the athletes who came through the centre and he has explained the impact Ceccarelli has had on his career to date.

Sinner said: “It is very different from having a coach or a sports psychologist because in those cases you have a conversation with that person and try to find solutions. What I do is different because we dedicate ourselves to solving exercises on a computer and we calculate the performance of my brain when it comes to finding solutions to the problems I encounter in these exercises.

“Repetition makes me automate the processes and my brain is more efficient and works better under pressure and in extreme situations. It helps me a lot because it makes me have to understand why things happen and I can analyse them in detail.

“We have been working with this methodology for a few years and I feel that it is working very well. I have improved significantly in this mental aspect.”

Sinner beat Djokovic in a tight three-set contest. He admitted the victory was important for him to mentally know he can defeat the 24-time Grand Slam champion moving forward.

He said: “Obviously, as I said before, even if I would have lost today, the match was really good. Also for my mind was really important to go close this match so in my mind I know I can really try to win against him also for the next matches.”

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