Jannik Sinner Has Officially Stormed Into The Big Four Club
Jannik Sinner Has Officially Stormed Into The Big Four Club

The Italian is hands down the most improved player in men’s circuit

Jannik Sinner hasn’t taken the world of tennis by storm. He hasn’t won any grand slam title so far. His current ATP ranking, fourth, is the highest he has scaled in his career. In short, Sinner is still chasing things that his younger contemporary, Carlos Alcaraz, has achieved: two grand slam titles, the number-one position, and widespread adulation and attention. These incredible achievements define the idea and hype of Alcaraz just as eloquently as the lack of them defines Sinner, the highest-ranked Italian player. The rise hasn’t been astronomical, but swift and steady. And, every time he steps onto the court, it feels like we are watching a much-improved version of the man.


Although the major title still remained out of his clutch, this year, especially the manner in which it ended, must have instilled greater beliefs in Sinner to go and achieve even greater things in 2024. In front of his boisterous home crowd in Turin, Sinner put up quite a show, beating who’s who of the game. Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and Holger Rune fell prey to Sinner’s power-packed game. In the final, he couldn’t replicate the performance of the group stage against Djokovic, who went on to clinch his sixth ATP finals.


But this was far from the final episode of Sinner vs Djokovic we saw this year. A week later, the duo clashed in the Davis Cup final, and although the tournament might have lost its sheen in recent years, these two put up a stellar exhibition of skill and resolve. Sinner’s decision to pull out of Davis Cup qualifiers earlier this year didn’t go down well with the Italian fans and press. But the biggest moment of his fledgling career came in the same tournament when he overturned a deficit of three match points against Djokovic to drive his team to the top.



The duo met thrice in a span of just over ten days, and the Italian walked out with a result of 2-0. It is arguably the most vital result of his career, because beating Djokovic in such big moments is the most potent litmus test for any young gun, and he did that twice. After trouncing Serbia in the semis, Sinner then landed the sucker punch by beating Alex De Minaur to lead Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976. Of course, the caveat here is that beating Djokovic in a three-setter doesn’t really amount to much; the five-setter is the one that tests your real persona, the skill, the adjustment and the tenacity. But even there, it seems that Sinner is better prepared than most to take on the Serb. Earlier this year, Sinner had faced Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals, losing in straight sets. Yet there was a refreshing directness to the game he played. In an interview to Corriere dello Sport, Sinner quipped, “These are the important matches for growth, the ones for which I say: I win or I learn. Djokovic will tell me where I am. I felt closer this year in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, despite losing in three sets, than last year in the quarter-finals, when we fought for five”. Sinner knows the best way to test where he stands is his match against Djokovic, the 24-time grand slam champion. It’s this hunger for marginal gains that has brought Sinner where he is today.


If the last three weeks are anything to go by, it’s safe to assume that Sinner isn’t fazed by the occasion. He plays the player, not the day. Earlier this year, he defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami Masters and followed up with another pretty straightforward victory in Beijing. He is now 4-3 against Alcaraz, the player who has proved to be the most enigmatic puzzle to crack for even the seasoned players. But Sinner’s ability to fight fire with fire, and unleash the utter destruction with his shot has kept Alcaraz calm. Yet, the Italian doesn’t believe that he is a better player than the Spaniard. “At the moment it’s tough to talk about this rivalry,” Sinner said this year. “I feel like, because [Carlos] has won so many things at the moment, I think at the moment he’s still a better player.



Sinner has won ten matches against opponents ranked inside the top five this year, which is more than anyone else. He is also one of three players to beat Djokovic since May, and he is the only one to do it twice. He reached his first grand slam semi-finals and registered his first victory over Daniil Medvedev. Off-court, he bagged a momentous Gucci deal. As the breakthrough year goes, this is nothing short of emphatic. Now the question that he needs to answer is whether he is ready to take it to the next level in 2024?

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