sport news Jannick Sinner is following in Novak Djokovic's footsteps as former skier aims ...

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The last great tennis player to emerge, incongruously, from an upbringing that took place largely in a mountainous ski area was Novak Djokovic.

Now, according to many independent judges in the game, there might be another on the way in the form of precocious Jannik Sinner.

The youngest player in next week's ATP NextGen Finals for the world's top under 21s, there is definitely something unusual about the 18 year-old Italian.

Italian prospect Jannick Sinner has reached the ATP top 100 from an unlikely starting point

Italian prospect Jannick Sinner has reached the ATP top 100 from an unlikely starting point

It is not just that, barely five years after deciding to concentrate on tennis, he is comfortably the most youthful member of the world's top 100.

He also has ginger hair, hails from the German-speaking South Tyrol in the far north of the country, and was once a national age group slalom champion.

Sinner, a gift sure to on keep giving for headline writers, comes from the village of Sesto where his father works as a chef in a restaurant specialising in Tyrolean dishes and his mother helps wait the tables.

Two weeks ago he beat world number thirteen Gael Monfils to reach the semi-finals of the European Open in Antwerp, an achievement that played out in the shadow of Andy Murray winning the title.

En route the teenager - who is fluent in German, Italian and English - explained what are unlikely origins for a possible future Wimbledon champion.

'It's a big skiing area, close to Austria, and so it was natural that I did skiing, everyone does it,' he says. 'I was Italian champion in my age group in 2008 in slalom and I came second in 2012.

'I always played a little bit of tennis, maybe twice a week growing up and just enjoyed it. When I was 13 I was spotted playing and met Ricardo Piatti (the renowned Italian coach) and after that every day became serious practice.

'I still went to school in my home town and would go down to his academy and back up again. I was studying a bit less than normal kids and I am still studying actually, or at least trying to.' 

He

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