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Sinner seeks crown at ‘home’

ELSA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE JANNIK Sinner aims to pull off a strong performance at his home base, the Monte Carlo Masters. 

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AFP)— Jannik Sinner said he is hoping to build upon his semifinal a year ago at the Monte Carlo Masters as the Italian begins the clay season in his tennis comfort zone.

The 22-year-old who has been based in the principality since the age of 18, is riding a wave of confidence which began as Italy won the Davis Cup last November.

It continued with titles already this year at the Australian Open, in Rotterdam and last weekend at the Miami Masters.

“Last year I played well here but didn’t play well afterwards,” Sinner said as he waited to start the event in the second round against the winner from Sebastian Korda and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

“This is a surface where I struggle a little bit, But I’m excited to come back (home) and hopefully do better.”

The Italian can rely on “home” support as his fans traditionally cross the nearby border in their thousands for the spring tennis week.

His 22-1 record this season makes him a top target as the build-up to Roland Garros and the Olympics on clay in Paris gathers early momentum.

“I like this tournament, I live here so I train frequently at the club,” Sinner said.

“There are a lot of Italians in the crowd.”

“I love to play here, but my expectations are not that high for this beginning on clay.”

“The goal is to be ready for Roland Garros and hopefully the Olympics. It’s like that for all players.”

Sinner said he would treat the outing as a “practice week.”

“I want to play good matches – hopefully more than one. Hopefully I can perform in a good way.”

The world No. 2 said that gaining form on the dirt can be a slow process for him.

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