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Jannik Sinner is No. 1 in the rankings for the first time and already is looking ahead to Wimbledon

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PARIS (AP) — As pleased as Jannik Sinner was to make his debut at No. 1 in the ATP rankings on Monday, he already was looking ahead to what comes next.

So no big party to mark the significance of the occasion?

“Look, not really,” Sinner said with a chuckle in a video interview with The Associated Press from his home base of Monte Carlo. “I am in the middle of the season. There are very important tournaments coming up — there is Wimbledon. It’s a great achievement, which I am going to celebrate with my loved ones, for sure, at some point. Obviously very happy; it’s a dream come true. But in other ways, now new challenges are coming up.”

The 22-year-old Sinner, who replaced the injured Novak Djokovic atop the ATP, is the first player from Italy to reach No. 1 since computerized rankings began in 1973. Sinner will be the top-seeded man at the All England Club, where play begins July 1.

He figures his new status, along with his first Grand Slam trophy — from the Australian Open in January — mean opponents view him differently.

“They don’t have nothing to lose anymore against me, and I have everything to lose, but this is the exciting part. And I like that. … You have to work on having new solutions on the court, and this is going to be hopefully my next step,” Sinner said. “Trying to prepare myself in a way of being more unpredictable on court. This is what I want to learn in the next months.”

He is 33-3 in 2024 with three titles.

“In the beginning of the year, we said, ‘We are going hunting, and then we’ll see what we can catch.’ And this now is still the same,” Sinner said. “Every tournament is a great opportunity to show something new and to show, also, the (will) to win as much as we can. But you don’t forget, also, the process. If you want to become a better tennis player, sometimes you have to miss. Sometimes you have to lose.”

Two of his three defeats came against Carlos Alcaraz, the 21-year-old from Spain with whom Sinner is developing quite a rivalry. One loss came Friday in five sets in the semifinals at the French Open, which Alcaraz went on to win by beating Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

“I hope he and I keep playing each other for the next 10 years,” Alcaraz said about Sinner. “He makes me a better player. He makes me wake up in the morning and try to improve.”

Alcaraz’s third major title moved him up one place to No. 2, with Djokovic and Zverev next.

Djokovic was the defending champion in Paris and needed to return to the final to stay at No. 1 because of a lack of play this year and failure to reach a title match anywhere. He tore the meniscus in his right knee during a victory last week, withdrew before the quarterfinals and had surgery. It’s unclear how long the 24-time major champion will be sidelined.

“I hope that Novak comes back as soon as possible. Hopefully he can, somehow, play Wimbledon,” said Sinner, eliminated by Djokovic there each of the last two years, “because it would be a tough loss for Wimbledon not having him.”

Iga Swiatek’s third consecutive championship at Roland Garros — her fourth in five years in Paris and fifth major overall — increased what already was a large lead as the WTA’s No. 1.

Coco Gauff climbed to a career-best No. 2, making the 20-year-old from Florida the first American to be that high in the rankings since Serena Williams in May 2017. Gauff, last year’s U.S. Open champion, reached the French Open singles semifinals before losing to Swiatek and won her first Slam doubles title, teaming with Katerina Siniakova.

Aryna Sabalenka swapped places with Gauff and is No. 3, followed by 2022 Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina.

Jasmine Paolini, a 28-year-old Italian who lost to Swiatek on Saturday in her first major final, jumped to No. 7, her first time in the top 10. Paolini was No. 15 before the French Open.

Paolini and Sinner gave Italy a semifinalist in both women’s and men’s singles during the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer

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