Nick Kyrgios identifies the big change that made Jannik Sinner a Grand Slam champion
Nick Kyrgios believes Jannik Sinner became a Grand Slam champion after making a key improvement in his game that took him to the next level.
Sinner staged a brilliant fightback from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev and win his first grand slam title at the Australian Open.
The 22-year-old Italian handed Novak Djokovic his first loss at Melbourne Park for six years in the semi-finals but looked like he would have to settle for the runners-up plate as Medvedev dominated the first half of the match.
Sinner was not finished, though, and he slowly began to take control with his huge groundstrokes, opening his grand slam account in stunning fashion with a 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory.
Kyrgios was an engaging commentator once again as he called the match for Eurosport and discovery+ and he made his views clear on the impact made by Sinner’s Australian coach Darren Cahill.
“You feel like this is the beginning of a very special journey. You can see more Grand Slams being added to that tally if he keeps playing like that,” said Kyrgios.
“I’ve said it about 14 times these two weeks; Darren Cahill made some amazing changes to the Sinner serve. I played him and thought that was a little hole in his game but now, dropping serve only twice in a Grand Slam is beyond a joke, the amount of concentration and discipline that takes.
“Jannik is an incredibly nice guy in the locker room. You always see him super professional, but he’s like a sponge. Ever since he came on tour that first match he played against Steve Johnson in Rome, the locker room was watching and thinking, ‘Who is this skinny guy, who has the crowd in the palm of his hand?’.
“We could already see the ball-striking. He’s like a sponge; every time he’s got good people around him trying to give him advice that he’s trying to incorporate into his game; always learning, always getting better. Just a good all-around good person.”
“I was there calling his matches towards the end of the year against Novak in Turin and then I saw him at the Davis Cup.
“He was improving all the time and the maturity he has is something I never had to get over the hump.
“I did predict he was going to be the new Slam winner in 2024. I thought maybe the US Open but now that he has got this one, he might be unstoppable.”
Former world No 1 Mats Wilander suggested it was fitting that Sinner’s first Grand Slam was won with his trademark forehand.
“He was very clear in the end here and it was very suitable that it ends with that bullet, the forehand down the line. So good,” Wilander told Eurosport.
“It is tough when you have the chance to serve out a match to win your first Grand Slam title, but he was calm. That was impressive.
“Adding Darren Cahill was brilliant because he adds a bit of a different take. He coached Simona Halep to a couple of majors and Andre Agassi, one of the most respected coaches out there.
“It’s not easy to fit in in a team with three or four people around, but they have an unbelievably good ambience.
“But when you hear Sinner talk, maybe it’s him that brings the good attitude and is easy to be around. He’s so mellow, and that really helped him today. He could turn that match around and didn’t panic.”
Former British No 1 Tim Henman also gave his verdict on Sinner’s moment of glory, as he believes it was a coming-of-age moment for the Italian.
“I felt that he could win a major in 2024,” said Henman. “He has been in such fantastic form and there were so many elements of his game that were improving all the time.
“Wind the clock back to Carlos Alcaraz last year and he raised the bar. He was the youngster that was going to dominate.
“Then at the end of last year, he didn’t play quite so well and it was Sinner who stepped up to the mark. In the first Grand Slam of the year, he has done it.
“When you are one of the best players in the world, it’s not difficult, but he did not panic when he was down two sets to love. His player box was still providing that love and positive belief that he could come back.”
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