What Jannik Sinner needs to do to become the next king of tennis after Davis Cup glory

Jannik Sinner leads Italy to Davis Cup glory

When we look back on the career of Jannik Sinner, the 2023 Davis Cup Finals may have particular significance.

After confirming he was a player to watch over the course of this year, Italy’s talisman confirmed he was ready to win the big prizes in the sport right now as he led Italy to their first Davis Cup title for 47 years.

When Sinner was staring at three match points against world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday with Italy 1-0 down in their tie against Serbia, it appeared hugely improbable that he would be lifting the trophy 24 hours later.

That was before the world number four somehow recovered to defeat Djokovic, repeated the feat in doubles along with Lorenzo Sonego and then saw off Australia’s Alex De Minaur 6-3 6-0 to clinch a 2-0 victory.

That sparked joyous celebrations among Sinner’s team-mates and the Italian-dominant crowd at a packed and vibrant Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena in Malaga.

The victory earned Italy just their second Davis Cup title after success in 1976 as they continue to reap rewards from their heavy investment in men’s tennis in recent years, while for Australia it was more disappointment after their 2-0 loss to Canada in the final 12 months ago.

In Sinner, Italy have a potential sporting superstar in the making and it was fitting that it was the 22-year-old, who had won both singles and doubles rubbers in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, was the man to seal it.

SINNER’S BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT

He has weapons that not even Djokovic appears to have an answer to.

Supporters of the world No 1 will point out that Djokovic won the match that mattered against Sinner in the last match of the 2023 ATP Finals.

Yet what we saw from Italy’s talisman at the Davis Cup confirmed his star has already risen.

His win against Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-final against Serbia was a moment that will be etched into tennis folklore, with his success in coming back from three match points down to beat the greatest player of them all a moment that cemented Sinner’s legacy as the next big star of the game.

READ MORE: Jannik Sinner joins three players who have beaten Novak Djokovic after saving match points

WHAT MAKES SINNER SPECIAL?

His forehand is a sight to behold.

The consistency he finds on what appears to be a flat bullet of a shot is breathtaking and Djokovic admitted in his post-match press conference on Saturday night that is is a weapon he knew all about, but could not contain.

That was a telling confession from the world No 1 and with Sinner’s serve improving over the course of this year, he has two shots to trouble the best.

He has also suggested he is keen to come to the net more in 2024 and that would allow him to make the most of his serve and forehand, which should provide him with some comfortable volleys at the net.

WHAT SINNER SAID

Sinner appears to be a reluctant hero and that was the case as he was lauded as Italy’s Davis Cup-winning talisman.

Make no mistake, he carried their challenge in Malaga, but he was keen to pay tribute to injured team-mate Matteo Berretti in his post-match analysis.

“We kept everything together,” said Sinner. “Yesterday, we were one point from being out and now we can celebrate the win. I think we can all be very, very happy.

“I know with the new format it’s a little bit different, we all have to come to one place. Huge thanks to Matteo Berrettini too. He’s had a very, very tough year with a lot of injuries and it means a lot to all of us that he came here with his positive energy.”

WHAT COMES NEXT?

The tennis world will be waiting to see what Sinner delivers in 2024.

His next meeting with Djokovic will be appointment-to-view television and if it comes at the Australian Open, possibly in the final, it could be a moment when the next generation finally end the reign of the enduring king.

Yet Djokovic will already be working out methods to unpick Sinner’s mighty game and it will be fascinating to see if he kicks on from this big moment to become a Grand Slam champion in the new year.

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