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Sinner, winner: Italian takes first major at AO 2024

  • Gill Tan

Jannik Sinner is a Grand Slam champion.

The world No.4 clinched the Australian Open 2024 men's singles title in stunning fashion, overcoming third seed Daniil Medvedev 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 in three hours and 44 minutes on Sunday night at Rod Laver Arena.

MORE: All the stats from the match

He's the first Italian, male or female, to win an AO singles title in the Open era and at 22, the youngest player from his nation to secure a Grand Slam. 

Cheered on by chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole, Sin-ner, Sin-ner” and fans bearing Italian flags, Sinner outmanoeuvred his opponent, collapsing on his back after securing championship point. 

“It’s a huge tournament for me,” he said, cradling the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. “It’s the ‘Happy Slam’, it’s a very, very nice place to be,” he said, comparing Melbourne’s sun to the temperatures of minus 20 degrees that his parents are enduring in Europe.

Sinner, who was a competitive junior skier, thanked his parents for their support and for letting him choose his own path.

“They never put pressure on myself, and I wish that this freedom is possible for as many young kids as possible,” he said.

He then thanked his team, which includes coaches Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi. 



“We are trying to get better every day, even during the tournament we try to get stronger, trying to understand every situation a little bit better, and I’m so glad to have you there supporting me, understanding me, which sometimes it’s not easy because I am a little bit young sometimes,” he said with a smile.

Sinner also thanked the Melbourne crowd, especially those at RLA: “It’s a court of 15,000 people, but it feels like much more,” he added.

The Italian credited Medvedev for his performance over the fortnight, and for forcing improvements to his own tennis as a result of their battles, of which he's won the last four.

“Every match I find something where I can improve, and you make me always a much, much better player,” Sinner said. “Your effort has been awesome throughout the whole tournament – the hours off the court and also today’s effort running for every ball is remarkable to see, so I hope you can also lift this trophy here, I’m sure that you can,” he added. 

The agile right-hander, who had claimed victory from a two-set deficit only once previously in his young career, is the second Italian man to achieve singles glory at a major, following Adriano Panatta in1976.

With victories over Andrey Rublev, 10-time AO champion Novak Djokovic, and Medvedev, the Italian is the youngest player to defeat top 5 opponents in the final three matches of a major since Michael Stich did it at Wimbledon in 1991 – just weeks before Sinner was born. 

At AO 2021 Medvedev lost in the final to Djokovic. The following year he led by two-sets-to-love in the final against Rafael Nadal, who made a dramatic resurgence to claim the title. Medvedev has become just the second player in the Open era to lose each of his first three AO men’s singles finals, after Andy Murray.

Sunday’s battle, which featured gasp-inducing rallies and a combined 94 winners, marked the 35th five-set contest of AO 2024. That’s a tournament record in Melbourne, and equals the 1983 US Open for the most five setters at a major in the Open era.

Competing in his sixth Grand Slam final, and first against a player not named Djokovic or Nadal, Medvedev began by executing an aggressive game plan, likely a concerted effort to expend the least energy possible.

Dictating points both on serve and on return with patient, well-placed groundstrokes, Medvedev earned a break in the third game of the first set by firing a backhand at Sinner, who botched a volley.

The Italian saved a pair of set points at 3-5 – one with a breathtaking passing backhand winner – but moments later, sailed a backhand wide to hand Medvedev the opening set.

Medvedev, who held to love in his first three service games of the second set, piled pressure on the Italian, forcing the right-hander to produce his best tennis to save four break points in a nearly 12-minute second game. 

Gracious in defeat: Medvedev congratulates Sinner

Medvedev secured break point for a 3-1 lead with a crisp forehand volley, and quickly grabbed an insurance break, racing to a 5-1 lead before Sinner created some magic of his own to reclaim a break.

Sensing a shift in momentum as Medvedev served to close out the second at 5-3, Sinner set the RLA crowd alight with a pair of brilliant passing shots en route to creating a break point opportunity, which Medvedev snuffed out with trademark patience, drawing a forehand error from his opponent. Medvedev seized his second set point, crushing a forehand down the line to force an error off Sinner’s racquet. 

But in the third set, the physical toll from Medvedev’s arduous path to the final began to show. His first serve percentage plummeted to 50 per cent from 86 per cent in the opening set, and his groundstrokes decelerated, while Sinner’s accelerated.

As Medvedev served to stay in it at 4-5, Sinner created and converted the first and only break point of the third set, to force a fourth.  

From there, Sinner’s ball-striking improved as his belief grew. He saved the only break he faced with an ace down the tee, and helped by scoreboard pressure, broke Medvedev by slamming a huge forehand to force an error from his more experienced rival, sealing the fourth set to take the final to a decider. 

A tense fifth set ensued and once again, it was Sinner who took control. The 22-year-old created a trio of break point chances in the sixth game, and, with a clinical cross-court forehand winner, broke Medvedev for a 4-2 lead. With the finish line in sight, the Italian showed no nerves despite the occasion, and clinched championship point with a forehand winner he'll likely never forget. 

“I want to congratulate Jannik, today you showed again why you deserve it, you fought to the end, you managed to raise your level,” said a gracious Medvedev.

“Probably that’s not your last Grand Slam, but I hope I can try to get the next one if we play in a final,” he grinned.