If you want to be the best, it helps to practice with the best.
And when you’re the best, you want to get an early take on the young guns who are fixing to try to knock you off the perch.
So there’s mutual benefit on both sides to collaboration on the practice court.
At Roland Garros this year, 19-year-old rising Italian star Jannik Sinner got to hit with the two best in the world, on back to back days, as he prepared for the tournament.
First it was Novak Djokovic.
Then it was Rafael Nadal.
When it began, Sinner rolled through to the quarterfinals with the loss of only one set.
There, he met Nadal, who had already done his homework.
Sinner gave him everything he could handle in the first set, a little less in the second set. And then Nadal rolled to victory in a 6-1 third set.
On Saturday afternoon, Sinner meets Zverev again for a spot in the Cologne final.