Jannik Sinner named ‘the big one right now’ by former world No 1

Shahida Jacobs
Jannik Sinner in action
Jannik Sinner of Italy during his tennis match

Daniil Medvedev believes “you need to be at your absolute best” to have a chance to beat Jannik Sinner and even then it might not be enough as was the case in this year’s Australian Open final.

Sinner is unbeaten in 2024 as he won his maiden Grand Slam trophy at the season-opening major at Melbourne Park – defeating Medvedev in a marathon five-setter – and he followed it up with the Rotterdam Open title.

The Italian is 12-0 this season while he has won 32 of last 34 matches with his only defeats coming in last November’s ATP Finals against Novak Djokovic and against Ben Shelton at the Japan Open in October.

His recent efforts have also seen him rise to a career-high No 3 in the ATP Rankings and Medvedev – who leads the head-to-head with Sinner 6-4 with the Italian winning the last four matches – explained just why he is so tough to beat these days.

“He just plays better. Maybe the first match in Beijing [in October 2023] when he managed to beat me for the first time, he mixed up some things comparing to before. Then in the next matches I just feel like he plays better than before,” he said.

“Before the matches were tough when I won them, but he could miss here and there, break point, miss a first serve, a forehand straightaway. Now it doesn’t happen anymore. Even if he does, he’s going to make a good shot. For me that happened. He just started playing better.

“Mentally, I honestly don’t feel like I’m scared or anything like this. It’s just you know before the match it’s a tough match. He’s playing very good.

“You need to be at your absolute best. All the shots have to be perfect to try to win the match. Even that could be not enough, like it was in Australia.

“That’s a force that big tennis players have, and he’s definitely the big one right now.”

READ MORE: How Jannik Sinner can join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to become fifth player to achieve rare feat

Medvedev found himself two sets to love up against Sinner in the Australian Open final, but fatigued kicked in and he eventually lost 3–6, 3–6, 6–4, 6–4, 6–3.

It was the second time in two years that the Russian suffered heartbreak at Melbourne Park as in 2022 he lost the final 6–2, 7–6 (7–5), 4–6, 4–6, 5–7 against Rafael Nadal.

Asked if he saw the defeat to Nadal as a lesson, he replied: “For sure I’m still disappointed because that one was close. Closer than the Jannik match.

“Also mentally with the crowd and this and that. Somewhere in the match I really felt like I’m there, not that I have to win it, but I was really close in my mind.

“Not sure it’s even a lesson. I would prefer not to have this lesson. But in life not everything goes as you prefer. So this happened. I have to go on from it. I would say I hope that it was a lesson and I can take anything from it. Even if not, I just have to forget it and go.”