Thanks for visiting the Australian Open Website. We can see you’re using Internet Explorer, and wanted to let you know that we will no longer be supporting this browser in future. We’d recommend you download a new browser if you'd like to continue keeping up with all of the latest tennis news!

"Hard work, precision, dedication:" Sinner flies high but stays grounded

  • Ravi Ubha

Jannik Sinner’s Davis Cup teammate, Lorenzo Sonego, describes his fellow Italian as humble, and in tennis terms, someone destined for the very top of the game. 

Anyone who has witnessed Sinner’s ball striking – and interviews – wouldn’t argue.

MORE: All the scores from Australian Open 2024

What remains to be seen is exactly how far Sinner goes. 

Heading into his quarterfinal at Australian Open 2024 against Andrey Rublev on Tuesday, the 22-year-old seems to have carried over the hefty momentum garnered from 2023. 

Last year Sinner earned 64 wins, reached the final of the ATP Finals at home – losing only to Novak Djokovic – and led Italy to its first Davis Cup crown since 1976. 

Such a successful end of season can often lead to hiccups at the start of the next one, especially for the younger guard, given the backlog of matches, a truncated off-season and perhaps overconfidence.

Yet Sinner has won all four matches at AO 2024 in straight sets, after opting to bypass a build-up event.  

Will the Italian, at a career high fourth in the rankings, win this Australian Open? If he downs Rublev, 10-time tournament winner Djokovic could be in his way as Sinner bids for a maiden Grand Slam final. 



But ahead of the year’s first major, Sinner was asked how he would know if he was ready to win a major.  

“This, we will see,” he replied calmly. 

“But for sure physically I feel much better now. We have been working hard, really well in the off-season a lot. And also, tennis wise, I feel good after last year. Coming here with a little bit of confidence and hopefully I can show good tennis.”

The ‘we’ includes his much-respected coach from Adelaide, Darren Cahill, and Italian Simone Vagnozzi, another former pro. 

They won’t need to be reminded that in five of Sinner’s last six Grand Slam defeats, opponents got the better of him in the fifth set. 

Indeed, in one of last year’s most memorable contests, Daniel Altmaier saved two match points to edge Sinner in five and a half hours at Roland-Garros

Jannik Sinner in action against Jasper de Jong on Day 4 at Australian Open 2024

And at the 2022 US Open, good pal Carlos Alcaraz saved a match point against Sinner in another five-set, five-hour classic en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Sinner, though, turned the tables in their head-to-head, having now won two in a row against the Spaniard. He has triumphed in two of his last three matches against Djokovic, too – ending the Serb’s 21-match winning streak in Davis Cup singles – and reversed his fortunes against Daniil Medvedev, another player still in contention at AO 2024.

Drop shots and net forays have been added to Sinner’s repertoire, adding to his often-lethal baseline game. The backhand – with its rare combination of spin and pace – is often particularly lauded.

How does he hit it so hard?

“It’s all in the racquet,” laughed the 1.88m Sinner, a skier in his younger days. 

“No… I have a lot of strength, even if we cannot see it from the outside maybe. I think the most important thing that I have is the timing with the ball. And when I feel that I have good timing, the shot is quite fluid and the ball goes by itself. But it’s a lot of practice, obviously. 

"When you have a little more strength, it’s a little bit easier also, and when you are ready physically, playing tennis, it makes it more fun because you arrive to ball that sometimes you don’t think you will arrive and the ball is still in play. 

“So I think it’s a combination. Also, talent in one way but in the other way, it’s hard work and precision and dedication.”

Which his fans have taken note of. 

Speaking of the supporters, they include the ‘Carota Boys’ – his Italian-based fan club who made the trip to Melbourne – but also many more. 

Sinner’s Instagram count stands at 1.4 million followers. Some of them may well have voted for him in the ATP’s Fan Favourite Award last season, which he won, following in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

“I really appreciate all the support, especially when things are not going my way,” he said. “So when things are going a little bit tougher, but the people still are behind me and next to me and trying to push me, I think this is so nice to see.”