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Five reasons why Jannik Sinner is ready to win his first AO

  • Matt Trollope

Jannik Sinner concluded season 2023 as the game’s most in-form player. 

Since the US Open, he won two titles, came close at the ATP Finals, and helped Italy to a monumental Davis Cup victory – all while beating every one of his biggest rivals. 

Will this momentum carry him to his first Grand Slam title next month at Australian Open 2024?

We offer five reasons why the signs are strong.

His peers believe

People have long tipped Sinner as a future major champion. But when that prediction comes from a player who themselves has scaled the mountain, it carries more weight.

Nobody believes in Sinner’s abilities more than Carlos Alcaraz, the reigning Wimbledon champion who declared big things were coming for his friend and rival.

“I have no doubts about it – he’s one of those guys who are able to win a Grand Slam,” Alcaraz said last month ahead of the ATP Finals.

“And I think he’s gonna reach the No.1 in 2024, or he’s going to give himself the chance to reach the No.1. So that’s my prediction.”

He’s on a rampage

The timing of Alcaraz’s comments is notable, coming amidst Sinner’s late-season purple patch.

The Italian won 20 of his final 23 matches, scooping titles in Beijing and Vienna before leading Italy to its first Davis Cup title in 47 years. He also reached the title match at the ATP Finals.

A flurry of wins post-US Open can be hard to interpret; they’re achieved at the end of a gruelling year and it’s unclear if such form will continue into a new season when players are refreshed and Grand Slam tennis resumes.

Yet it’s hard to believe Sinner’s results won’t have a lasting impact when 2024 begins, given the significance of what he achieved, and subsequent boost to his belief.

He scored multiple wins over Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev – two players he’d never previously defeated – and did the unthinkable against Djokovic in the Davis Cup semifinals, saving three consecutive match points against the world No.1 to win their singles rubber.

He’s growing at Grand Slams

Sinner may have to go through Djokovic again if he wants to win the Australian Open; the Serbian has not lost at Melbourne Park since 2018 and is aiming for an incredible 11th AO title.

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While yet to defeat Djokovic in Grand Slam play, his results at the four biggest events in tennis are impressive, and continue to improve.

He reached his first major quarterfinal at Roland Garros at just 19 years old, and has since progressed to that stage at all four Grand Slams. He is the youngest player to complete his quarterfinal set since Djokovic in 2008.

A first Grand Slam semifinal came at Wimbledon in 2022, and he was a point away from a second at that year’s US Open.

Humbled by Stefanos Tsitispas in his first AO quarterfinal in 2022, Sinner extended the Greek to five sets when they met again in the second week at AO 2023. He has won their two meetings since in straight sets.

"The next step for him is to win a major,” Australian great Todd Woodbridge said earlier this year

“His consistency is just extraordinary. By 21, he'd been in all four major quarterfinals. He's now been into a semi. He’s certainly a contender.”

He’s progressing methodically

“Next step” is a crucial comment, because that’s exactly how Sinner’s career has unfolded to this point – a orderly series of milestones attained and boxes ticked.

He won his first ATP 250 title in 2020, his first ATP 500 crown in 2021, and a first Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto this year, just one month after advancing to his first Grand Slam semifinal.

This progress is also reflected in his match-ups against fellow top players, none more obviously than Medvedev, against whom he lost his first six matches, only to flip it and win the last three.

Sinner is yet to appear in a major final, but Woodbridge has a theory as to what might happen if he got there.

“You'll see a lot of players get to a certain point (at Grand Slams), like a semi-quarter-semi, and then, bang, they do it, and then they run through the gates really well,” Woodbridge said.

“I think he's that type of player; once he gets there, he's going to do it.”

He enjoys an Australian connection

In our analysis of Tsitsipas’ Australian Open chances, the Greek star mentioned how much he enjoyed a boost at the AO thanks to the crowd support.

Will it be a similar situation for Sinner at Australian Open 2024?

He is coached by illustrious Aussie Darren Cahill, giving him a popular local connection. 

Plus, Sinner this week was voted as the ATP’s Fan Favourite, the first player not named Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to win the award in more than 20 years. 

Sinner already possesses some of the most potent power and shotmaking in the game, and his belief will be at an all-time high come January.

Couple that with potentially even stronger backing from the crowd, and the rising star could prove unstoppable at AO 2024.