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Jannik Sinner fuels tennis-core craze with Gucci duffel bag campaign

MILAN – The tennis core craze is far from over.

Between the fashion tour de force that Zendaya and film friends Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist served up to promote the film ‘Challengers’ and the Roland Garros tournament approaching in less than a fortnight, the spotlight remains on tennis, or so fashion speaks industry in general, as evidenced by Gucci’s latest campaign launching Thursday.

The luxury house leaned on a real star in the field: the brand ambassador and Italian tennis great Jannik Sinner, who over the past year became a national hero for his achievements on the court and won the hearts of fans for his charismatic simplicity. reserved manners and friendly manners.

The 22-year-old athlete, currently the second-ranked male player in the world after record-breaker Novak Djokovic, is photographed by photographer Riccardo Raspa in his natural habitat for Gucci.

Captured in reportage-style footage that recreates his entrance onto a tennis court, Sinner is seen carrying different versions of the now-famous monogrammed Gucci GG duffel bag, the style he first wore at last year’s Wimbledon Championships. As reported at the time, it was the first time a luxury bag appeared on the green grass of the iconic Center Court. Once the precedent was set, Sinner and Gucci boosted the collaboration with custom bags for the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals.

Jannik Sinner stars in Gucci's latest advertising campaign.

Jannik Sinner stars in Gucci’s latest advertising campaign.

Riccardo Raspa/courtesy of Gucci

‘Wimbledon was a very special moment last year’ Sinner told WWD in an interview. “I never thought I would even step on that court, because it means that I have reached a certain level as a tennis player. Doing it with that bag felt extra special… And this collaboration with the brand is going in the right direction.

“I’m happy to be a part of this,” he continued about working on the campaign. “We did a great job, and with great people, which is ultimately the most important thing for me,” he said, recalling the smoothness of the shooting day.

In the images, Sinner balances the Gucci bag on one shoulder, while the tennis bag shows off his Head rackets. When asked what he’s wearing in the brand’s monogram style, he laughed. “Basically just normal stuff, clothes and supplements, and really little more. Also because I want to handle that bag more carefully, I don’t want it to get dirty,” he said.

There are no secret good luck charms in there either, as he believes the best pre-match ritual is to “remember how much you worked to prepare for that match.” Ultimately, that gives you the confidence to try to compete in the best way possible.”

In a similar vein, the straightforward campaign is accompanied by the claim “Gucci is a feeling,” which the brand’s creative director Sabato De Sarno borrowed from a vintage Gucci ad from the ’80s.

“Over the past few months, Jannik Sinner has redefined the meaning of the term ‘champion’, taking us by the hand on an adventure of talent, but also strength, discipline and just the right amount of fun,” said The Sarno. “Jannik is a feeling, Gucci is certainly a feeling. And this campaign is a celebration of that.”

Gucci’s affinity with tennis dates back to the late 1970s, when the brand expanded its range of tennis-related products, focusing mainly on accessories and shoes. This included the Tennis 1977 sneakers – one of the very first sneakers produced by a luxury brand. The brand’s forays into sports continued well into the ’80s, with a ready-to-wear collection that became popular with athletes and enthusiasts of the sport alike.

A Gucci advertising campaign from the spring of 1984.

A Gucci advertising campaign from the spring of 1984.

Bob Krieger/Courtesy of Gucci

The collaboration with Sinner builds on that legacy and proves fruitful for both parties. Sinner was excited about meeting and connecting with new people since he was appointed brand ambassador in 2022, and also had the opportunity “to see a different point of view in styling and many aspects (in fashion) that I had previously never paid attention to it.”

“I’m a sporty type, I dress very normally. But when I get the chance to be on a set for a shoot, I like to see new looks and make improvements, so being part of this brand feels good,” said Sinner.

Regularly being on the front row of Gucci shows further adds to the learning curve, especially when it comes to nighttime events. “If I happened to have an important dinner, Gucci has always helped so far,” Sinner said.

Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner at the Gucci Spring 2024 show

Stéphane Feugère/WWD

His fashion progress is second only to that in the sporting field. Over the past twelve months, Sinner has rapidly climbed the rankings. He took home his first Grand Slam title after beating Djokovic at the Australian Open in January, followed by claiming top prizes at the tournament in Rotterdam and at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami.

But the opening act of this series goes back to November, when he led the Italian men’s team to their first Davis Cup title since 1976, taking home all the accolades, including those from the country’s president, Sergio Mattarella. The Sinner Effect soon followed: the country rediscovered that there was a life outside football and registrations for tennis lessons and sales of tennis equipment increased from generation to generation.

Yet rising to the global tennis elite and becoming a role model in Italy does not appear to have diminished his focus on training and dedication to the sport. “It’s not pressure, that should be the goal, right? Get more people passionate about this beautiful sport,” said Sinner. “In Italy we are achieving this gradually. I have made my contribution, so let’s see what we can do further in this regard.”

In addition to fellow Italian tennis players, he is supported in this mission by a new wave of male athletes who represent a generational change after years of dominance by the trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic. Names range from German player Alexander Zverev to Norwegian Casper Ruud, as well as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, among others.

In particular, Spanish sensation and Louis Vuitton ambassador Carlos Alcaraz is considered one of Sinner’s top opponents. The duo’s epic battles and fair competition on the court, as well as their authentic friendship off the court, evoke fans’ nostalgia for the interaction between Federer and Nadal and raise their hopes for a “Fedal 2.0” dynamic.

“We’re very calm about it,” Sinner said of the analogy. “We are still young and try to do our best every day, but we can’t really compare ourselves with them because we are still at the beginning of our career and we have to see how consistent we will be and how long we will to stay. go play.”

Jannik Sinner stars in Gucci's latest advertising campaign.

Jannik Sinner in Gucci’s latest advertising campaign.

Riccardo Raspa/courtesy of Gucci

Born in South Tyrol in northern Italy to parents who worked together in a local restaurant, Sinner has always had a talent for sports – several. While he started playing tennis at the age of seven, encouraged by his father’s personal passion, he has always been active in football and was a champion ski racer in Italy from eight to twelve. He decided to focus on tennis and moved away from home to pursue a career. into sports at the age of 13. He turned professional at the age of 18 and soon after earned the title of 2019 ATP Newcomer of the Year.

“I love this sport because it reveals characters and personalities, especially when something goes wrong,” Sinner said. “In tennis you can make mistakes but still win a match. There are plenty of things that can happen on the field, you just have to be ready at all times. Plus you get the chance to play a tournament, try again and prove what you’re good at every week.”

This dedication may leave little room for side passions, but while he revealed he’s not much into movies (he didn’t catch “Challengers” fever, for example), Sinner still enjoys simple pleasures like playing games on the PlayStation with friends .

“Go-karts are another passion of mine,” he said, in line with his love of motor racing in general, citing former Moto GP superstar Valentino Rossi as one of his inspirations.