Sinner turns down invite from Sanremo host Amadeus.

Italian tennis champion Jannik Sinner, fresh from his Australian Open triumph, has said that he will not be accepting an invitation to appear at Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival next month.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome on Wednesday, Sinner told reporters that he would “already be working and that’s what I like to do”, adding that he would “cheer for Sanremo from home”.

Amadeus, the host and artistic director of Italy’s most famous song contest, had invited the tennis champion to appear on stage during the five-night festival which takes place at Teatro Ariston from 6-10 February.

The invitation to the 74th edition of Italy’s biggest showbiz event sparked debate among those who wanted to Sinner to accept and those who warned against the 22-year-old tennis champion being instrumentalised.

The Italian Tennis Federation president Angelo Binaghi on Tuesday said that Sinner should not accept the Sanremo invitation because “Jannik must be protected from everyone”, adding that “it would be a disappointment” if he went.

Amadeus responded to the debate by reaching out to Sinner a second time in a video on social media, saying that he “certainly didn’t imagine all this fuss” over his invitation.

“Sanremo must include, it must not divide: there are those who want you in Sanremo and some who naturally advise you against coming to Sanremo” – Amadeus told Sinner in the video – “The important thing is your serenity, your tranquility, and naturally I didn’t want to embarrass you.”

“If you decide not to come to Sanremo” – Amadeus continued – “I will understand, it is important that you dedicate yourself to tennis. Naturally we at Sanremo are sorry, but nothing changes, we will always cheer for you, because you are a true Italian pride.”

On Tuesday Sinner was welcomed warmly by Italy’s premier Giorgia Meloni at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, posing for photographs together holding the Italian tricolour.

On Wednesday Italy’s foreign minister appointed Sinner as “Ambassador of Sports Diplomacy”, hailing him as “truly a good guy and an example for young people”.

Italy has been experiencing “Sinner-mania” since the tennis champion from San Candido beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final on Sunday, becoming the first Italian man to claim a Grand Slam since Adriano Panatta won the 1976 French Open.

Photo credit: Victor Velter / Shutterstock.com.

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