Jannik Sinner may be a poster boy for Gucci but the Italian has proved on the tennis court he has the substance to back up the style.
The 22-year-old ended the Australian Open dominance of Novak Djokovic with a stunning semi-final win on Friday and is now within touching distance of his first Grand Slam.
Sinner inflicted the all-conquering Djokovic’s first Melbourne defeat since 2018, proving the emerging generation in tennis do actually have the game and the bottle to beat the old guard.
Victory in Sunday’s final would elevate the multi-talented Sinner to a whole new level, with many years ahead to cement his place in tennis history.
Sinner combines tennis ability and looks which have earned him partnerships with luxury fashion house Gucci and iconic Italian car marque Ferrari.
Italian tennis star Jannik Sinner, seen posing with a Ferrari on a visit to their headquarters, has reached the Australian Open final after inflicting a rare defeat on Novak Djokovic
Sinner is dating the model and influencer Maria Braccini but the pair keep things private
The stylish Italian player has posed for Gucci photoshoots, one of many lucrative partnerships
Sinner sent Novak Djokovic packing on Friday to reach the final of the Australian Open
A picture showing Sinner as a boy with 24-time Slam champion Djokovic has surfaced
He is dating the stunning model and influencer Maria Braccini but chooses to keep their relationship very private.
She has a closed Instagram profile and Sinner rarely posts pictures of them together, with both preferring the private life, something that may be tested as his face grows.
Despite his tender years, Sinner already has an estimated new worth of $12million [£9.46m] and Australian Open success this weekend will net him a further $2.1m [£1.65m] in prize money.
Victory will also delight Sinner’s dedicated fan club – known as the ‘Carota Boys’ or ‘Carrot Boys’ after his red hair.
Born in August 2001 in San Candido, a small town in northern Italy near to the Austrian border, Sinner grew up in humble surroundings with parents Hanspeter and Siglinde, and was a skiing champion as a boy.
He has a brother, Mark, but details about the family are scarce. They are rarely seen at his matches and his social media is dominated by endorsement deals and professional images from on court.
Sinner shared a rare photo of him and his brother in 2019 but fans find the dynamics of the family mysterious, although they are widely viewed as hard-working with strong moral values.
Sinner, who now lives in Monte-Carlo, adopts a similarly private relationship with his girlfriend, Braccini.
The Italian No 1, pictured in another Gucci shoot, beat reigning champion Djokovic in four sets
Sinner sports another Gucci outfit during an event in Ancona, as posted on his Instagram
Gucci are one of the biggest brands that the top 10 player has worked with in recent years
He has proven to be a heart-throb off the court, securing lots of endorsment deals
Here is Sinner pictured in one of Gucci’s campaigns, as shared across his Instagram page
The model, who has 103,000 followers on her private Instagram page, has been described as ‘introverted’ and ‘fiercely private’, often keeping a low profile around the bright lights of Sinner’s burgeoning career.
Braccini has watched him at Wimbledon but managed to evade the cameras, something Sinner seems happy with.
But back to Sinner’s early life and things could have turned out so differently had patience been applied to his skiing career.
‘Skiing is quite a common sport to get into from where I am. There are a lot of ski slopes just literally outside of my front door,’ Sinner once told ATPTour.com.
‘I remember the first time I went skiing. My brother was having some lessons and I saw him and I wanted to go but my mum told me “Not today”.
‘I kept crying to her and asking and then she said “OK, let’s do this”. They were expecting me to go once and then I would go home. But I stayed all day until they closed the slopes. Then I went every day and loved it.’
Sinner was originally a star in skiing, but at 13 elected to commit totally to playing tennis
Sinner has one brother, Mark (right), but the tennis star likes to keep his family life private
Sinner was a natural, far superior to many kids his age, and soon he was established as one of the best junior skiers in Italy.
Skiing was No 1. Football was No 2. Tennis was No 3.
Trophies soon came rolling in, competition after competition, but at 13 Sinner, who by this point had dropped football, began to feel physically inferior on the slopes.
‘One year I won many trophies when skiing, but then the year after I felt that physically, the others were so much stronger,’ he added.
‘I went out twice and didn’t feel comfortable anymore. I really loved playing tennis because everything was from my side. I had my head under control, which in skiing is very tough.’
One of his early ski coaches hailed his ‘mountain mentality’ that he has since been able to take into tennis. But now, he was all in on tennis.
Sinner, wise beyond his years, elected to leave home at 13 to really make a success of tennis. Leaving friends and family behind, he departed determined to make it pro.
‘When I left home at 13, I dreamed of becoming a professional. Seven years later, I am in the top ten,’ he reflected back in 2021.
Sinner made a bold fashion choice for his opening Wimbledon match last year as he walked out onto Centre Court with a luxury custom Gucci duffel bag
It is the first time that a player has wore a luxury bag out onto Centre Court at Wimbledon
Riccardo Piatti’s academy in Bordighera, Italy, was where Sinner would end up and there relationship was almost paternal in nature.
Claudio Pistolesi, the 1985 junior World No. 1, once told ATPTour.com that Sinner’s unconventional route to the Tour, via the ski slopes, has helped – not hindered – him.
‘Like Lorenzo Sonego, who played football until the age of 14, he has broken all the rules that you follow from an academy perspective, having done another sport to a good level,’ said Pistolesi.
‘He brings some lateral skills to tennis from skiing in his movement around the tennis court, and he steps into the ball automatically.’
His rise has continued to where The Association of Tennis Professionals named him Newcomer of the Year in 2019, before he became the first player born in the 2000s to break the top 10 in 2021.
Sinner celebrates after inflicting Djokovic’s first Australian Open defeat since 2018
Sinner has a dedicated band of supporters known as the ‘Carota Boys’ (‘Carrot Boys’)
At Wimbledon last year he reached his first Slam semi-final but was well beaten in straight sets by Djokovic.
The player nicknamed ‘The Fox’ did cause a stir at SW19 by walking onto court carrying a personalised Gucci bag.
As well as posing for Gucci photoshoots, Sinner has lucrative tie-ups with Nike, Head, Rolex, Gucci, Lavazza, Alfa Romeo, Technogym and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Just to continue the theme of Italian cool, Sinner recently got behind the wheel of sleek Ferrari sports cars on a visit to the brand’s famous base at Maranello.
Able to speak Italian, German and English, it’s no wonder brands see him as highly marketable.
This time, however, the tables were turned on Djokovic as Sinner triumphed in four thrilling sets, even managing to overcome the disappointment of a missed match point in the third.
Now the immensely talented Sinner has a maiden Slam success within reach.