The challenges may start to mount for runaway ATP pacesetter Jannik Sinner as the new world No. 2 begins his spring clay season at next week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

The Italian with three prestige trophies already this season – Australian Open, Rotterdam and the Miami Masters last weekend – will start over from zero as he steps onto the dirt in the French Open run-up.

But the Monte Carlo-based 22-year-old will enjoy the benefit of home support from thousands of Italians who attend the event just 13 km from the border.

In addition, Sinner, based here for four years, is situated in his comfort zone.

“It’s nice to live a normal life after tournaments and training,” he said. “You feel safe here, the facilities at the club are great and there are always plenty of players to train with.

 Sinner is hoping to ease quickly into the massive switch from hardcourts to clay.

 “Last year I played well here but didn’t play well afterwards,” the 2023 semi-finalist who lost to fellow young gun Holger Rune said.

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

“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.”