WATCH: Italy’s Davis Cup celebrations as hero Jannik Sinner reserves special praise for one team member

Fillipo Volandri Jannik Sinner Lorenzo Sonego Lorenzo Musetti Matteo Arnaldi and Simon Bolelli Italy Davis Cup celebrations

Italy’s heroic Davis Cup team celebrated late into the night in Malaga as they won their first title in nearly 50 years, but there was special praise for one player who was unable to compete in the finals due to injury.

Jannik Sinner was the man of the moment as he won three singles matches – including a superb victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-final – and two doubles rubbers to lead his country to their first Davis Cup title since 1976.

The likes of Lorenzo Sonego, Lorenzo Musetti, Matteo Arnaldi and Simon Bolelli also played their part during the year-long tournament.

The culmination came against Australia on Sunday with the Europeans winning 2-0 courtesy of Arnaldi’s win over Alexei Popyrin and Sinner’s victory over Alex de Minaur.

But it is not always just the members who compete on the court who keep the spirit going as Matteo Berrettini has played a crucial role in ending Italy’s Davis Cup drought.

Berrettini was not selected for the finals squad as he has struggled with injury most of the year, but he was an ever-present member in Malaga and Sinner was quick to praise him after they won the title.

“It has been an incredible feeling for all of us, obviously we are really happy,” Sinner said. “[A] huge thanks to Matteo Berrettini. 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.

“We kept everything together. Thanks Matteo. [On Saturday], we were one point from being out and now we can celebrate the win. I think we can all be very, very happy.”

Berrettini himself was equally complimentary of rising star Sinner following the world No 4’s heroics against Serbia on Saturday. After beating Djokovic in the singles, Sinner teamed up with Sonego to beat Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic in the doubles to qualify for the finals against Australia.

“His growth was only a matter of time. The conditions in Turin, and indoor tournaments in general, are his own. He demonstrated this from an early age. He is behind Novak on the fast track,” the former Wimbledon runner-up said.

“There is no envy. It’s a question of healthy competitiveness. I define it as I believe he used it in previous years. He impressed me with how quickly he has improved and he is certainly a great incentive to put myself in and work.”

He added: “I certainly would have liked to be there. I would have liked to be at the Finals. [But] more than anything else, enjoy them as he enjoyed them.”

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