Leading coach gives a clinical verdict on the Carlos Alcaraz vs Jannik Sinner debate
The final weeks of the 2023 season saw Jannik Sinner emerge as Novak Djokovic’s biggest rival on the ATP Tour, but will sustain his progress next year?
Sinner recorded wins against Djokovic in the group stages of the ATP Finals and in a thrilling encounter in the Davis Cup semi-finals, as he appeared to have found a way to unsettle the undisputed world No 1.
That was a change in narrative from the opening half of a season that saw Carlos Alcaraz emerge as the leading contender to knock Djokovic off his throne at the top of the game.
Now leading coach Patrick Mouratoglou has given his verdict in the Alcaraz vs Sinner debate, as he offered an alternative view from British No 1 Cameron Norrie.
“I think Alcaraz will do better than Sinner next year,” Norrie told Tennis365, as we asked him to give his verdict on the current world No 2 and No 4.
“I think Alcaraz has a more complete game. He moves better than Sinner, has more variety on the forehand, better drop shots, he volleys better than Sinner. More skilful with the slice. So I’d say Alcaraz has a better year than Sinner. Let’s see, I could be wrong.”
That view is disputed by Mouratoglou, who has coached some of the leading players in the game including Serena Williams, Holger Rune and Simona Halep.
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“I think 2024 is going to still be the year of Novak Djokovic, but who between Sinner or Alcaraz is going to be the number two if there are some opportunities?” he told Tennis Majors.
“I think it can be the year of Jannik. Of course, Carlos will be right behind him, but I think Jannik, with what he’s done at the end of 2023 will be 100% ready to perform at the highest level.
“This year, he’s going to be more dangerous, much more dangerous than in 2023. It’s true that Carlos is a few steps ahead compared to Jannik because he won two Grand Slams, he’s been number one. He had much more tools.
READ MORE: Cameron Norrie gives five reasons why Carlos Alcaraz is a better player than Jannik Sinner in feisty interview
“When he came on tour, when he started to win he could do anything. He could attack, he could defend. He had these incredible drop shots. He was coming to the net a lot and he was very effective at the net. He was already complete.
“Probably again, maybe on clay, Carlos will beat him. But I think on other surfaces, also with the style of play that Sinner has, playing so fast, taking the ball so early, taking time away. I see him playing better and stronger than Carlos next year.
“Jannik, when he came on tour and he started to win a lot, he had a game that was based on his number one quality which is staying close to the baseline, taking the ball early and playing very fast. And the last two or three years, I think Jannik developed a lot of other things. Now he’s drop-shotting much more, he’s coming to the net much more with efficiency.
“So I think now he’s ready to do many more things and adapt to more situations with the confidence of the last few months. You know, in this sport, it’s so much about confidence. It’s so much about the feeling that you’re able to achieve things.
“I think the last part of the season gave Jannik the feeling that he’s ready to win those. Of course, he didn’t win the big match that he had to win in the final of the ATP Finals, but he beat Novak twice. He won Davis Cup, and that’s an incredible boost.”
Alcaraz will have a chance to knock Djokovic off the top spot in the ATP rankings at next month’s Australian Open, but the Spaniard may be keen to avoid a meeting with Sinner, who has won four of his seven meetings with Alcaraz.
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