Jannik Sinner backed for huge 2024 season in Novak Djokovic comparison as top coach repeats claim

Ewan West
Jannik Sinner is the Australian Open champion
Jannik Sinner is the Australian Open champion

Patrick Mouratoglou has reiterated the claim he made at the end of last year that 2024 could be “the year of Jannik Sinner” after the Italian’s Australian Open triumph. 

The tennis coach and analyst identified Sinner’s two wins over Novak Djokovic late in 2023 as key and hailed his ability to deliver in Melbourne when he “could have choked a lot.”

Sinner defeated world No 1 and 10-time Australian Open champion Djokovic in a convincing four-set semi-final in Melbourne to become the first player to beat the Serb at the event since 2018.

The 22-year-old Italian then impressively recovered from two sets down to defeat world No 3 Daniil Medvedev in five sets in Sunday’s final to secure his maiden Grand Slam title.

The world No 4 has now won three of his last four encounters with Djokovic, who he also triumphed against at the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals in November.

Mouratoglou explained what impressed him most about Sinner’s run to his first major crown and recalled his words after the Italian led his nation to Davis Cup glory last year.

“At the end of 2023, I said this year could be Sinner’s year. So it’s not surprising for me [that Sinner won the Australian Open],” the Frenchman told Tennis Majors.

“What was very impressive with Sinner is that he was able to play the match that we expected from him. Novak was not there [in the semi-finals] but Sinner played the exact match he was supposed to play.

“When he played his first Grand Slam final, he was able to deliver, and do this until the end of the match—deliver his level. He could have choked a lot at the end. He did not choke.

“The quality of tennis he was playing at the end of the season, the victories he got, two over Novak, one in this Davis Cup match that was very important, 6-4 in the third. All these things played a big role in his ability to win his first Grand Slam final.

“You could feel that he was getting closer and closer. Finally, everything was aligned. He had the confidence necessary because he had won so many of these matches at the end of the season.

“His level of play was very constant, and the quality of the tennis he was playing was extremely high, and high enough to win a Grand Slam. The only question mark was would he be able to deliver that in a Grand Slam final, and he gave the answer to that in the best possible way.”

In December, Mouratoglou shared an anecdote from Australian legend Tony Roche to illustrate how Sinner might replicate Djokovic by having a superb campaign in 2024.

“He won the Davis Cup and that’s an incredible boost. It reminds me of 2011 for Novak. We had this discussion with Tony Roche at the Australian Open [in] 2011,” he said in an interview with Tennis Majors.

“We were discussing exactly the same topic: ‘who’s gonna play well this year?’ I don’t remember who I said, but I didn’t say Novak, and he said, ‘I think Djokovic is going to win, he’s going to be the one this year.’

“And I said, ‘why do you say that’. And he said, ‘because what he did at Davis Cup, winning for his country, being the guy that brought all the points. I think it’s an incredible boost of confidence for the next year.’

“And 2011 was the year of Novak. That’s the year that he really won most of everything. Beat Rafa – I don’t know how many times – even on clay several times. So that was his year. And I think it (2024) can be the year of Jannik. I think Novak has an edge, but I think he can play incredible this year.”

Mouratoglou, who coaches at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, has worked with several tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Coco Gauff, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune.

READ MORE: Andy Roddick explains how Jannik Sinner counters Novak Djokovic’s ‘superpower’ tactically