Jannik Sinner’s classy post-match comments as he brilliantly sidesteps Novak Djokovic tactics question

Shahida Jacobs
Post-match hug between Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic
Jannik Sinner, left, of Italy is congratulated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia

In the era of scrutiny and analysis of every piece of information, it is sometimes important to keep your winning tactics to yourself.

That is exactly what Jannik Sinner did during his on-court interview shortly after his brilliant victory over Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open as he also gave the 24-time Grand Slam winner credit for helping him to improve.

After losing his first three matches against Djokovic, Sinner has now won three out of four to close his head-to-head record with the Serbian to 4-3.

The Italian’s first two wins came at the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup in the space of a few weeks at the backend of the 2023 season and on Friday he picked up his third win as he defeated the tennis great 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 in the semi-final of the season-opening Grand Slam.

Asked by commentator and former Australian Open winner Jim Courier why Djokovic finds it so difficult to play against him, Sinner replied: “I don’t know, ask him. I think we play really similar. Trying to return as many balls as possible… he’s an incredible server. I tried to guess some of the time. Trying to move him around.”

But he stopped short of giving any secrets away, adding: “I’m not gonna tell you the tactics because I hope to play him [again] in a couple of matches.”

Sinner’s first-ever match against Djokovic came at the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters and after the clash his coaches approached the Serbian to ask for tips.

The 22-year-old explained that he met Djokovic when he was a teenager and the “process of learning” from the legend started back then already.

“I had the chance already when I was younger, 17, 16 to practice with him in Monaco and already there the process of trying to learn from the best players in the world started,” he said.

“Then after the match he told me I need to try to move the ball a little bit more and be a little bit unpredictable so we tried to do that. The serve has improved a lot, but I have the feeling that I can still improve a lot and that’s why I have a great team behind me and I will keep pushing.”

As for Friday’s victory over Djokovic, Sinner explained that he felt his opponent was out of sorts early on and he used his 2023 Wimbledon defeat to the Serbian as a tool to improve.

“It was a very tough match. I started really well. He missed for two sets and I felt like he wasn’t feeling great. I tried to keep pushing,” he said.

“In set three I had a match point but I missed the forehand, but this is tennis. I tried to be ready for the next set which I started really well.

“The atmosphere was great. I was looking forward for this match. It’s always nice to have this kind of player who you can learn from. I lost last year in the semis of Wimbledon so I learned a lot from that. It’s all part of the process. I’m really happy to share this with you guys and also with my team.”

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