Former major finalist reveals player he is backing to win Australian Open over Novak Djokovic

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic applauding
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his match

Former world No 10 Arnaud Clement has predicted that Jannik Sinner will win the 2024 Australian Open title over Novak Djokovic because of the way the Italian has performed “for several months.”

The 2001 Australian Open runner-up also thinks the fact Sinner would face Djokovic in the semi-finals and Carlos Alcaraz in a potential final could be advantageous.

Sinner had a career-best season in 2023 as he claimed four titles, including the biggest of his career so far at the Canada Masters in August, as well as ATP 500 tournaments in Beijing and Vienna in October.

The 22-year-old also reached the final of the ATP Finals, led Italy to Davis Cup glory, and reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon last year.

The Italian, who did not play a tournament ahead of the 2024 Australian Open due to his late finish to 2023, is currently at a career-high ranking of world No 4.

Fourth seed Sinner is through to the last 16 in Melbourne without dropping a set and will face world No 15 Karen Khachanov on Sunday.

Ahead of his fourth encounter with the 27-year-old Russian, Sinner said: “I have to analyse a little bit now, because everything has changed [since last playing Khachanov in 2021], but we do play a little bit similar.

“We love to play with the rhythm. Physically we both are good movers. He has improved a lot, I think. Also the serve he has improved. So let’s see. It’s for sure a tough match coming up.

“But this is why also I practise, no, to see where my level is, where I can find the right solution every time. So let’s see. The last time we played it’s already quite a while ago, so let’s see.”

Speaking to Eurosport, four-time ATP titlist Clement explained why he feels Sinner will win his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

“He has been developing prodigious tennis over the past six months. He has progressed a lot in a lot of areas, at the net, in particular on the serve where he is really very efficient. From the baseline, we have the impression that he hits even harder than before,” the Frenchman said.

“Last year, we were talking about Djokovic and Alcaraz, now we even wonder if Sinner didn’t take Alcaraz’s place. I think he will win the Australian Open this year.

“For what? Already because he plays Djokovic in the semi‐finals, so if he wins, he would potentially be favourite in a final against Alcaraz and also because of the level of play that he has been showing us for several months.”

World No 1 and 10-time champion Djokovic will face Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round on Sunday, while two-time major winner and second seed Alcaraz will take on Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Third-ranked Daniil Medvedev, who will play Nuno Borges in the last 16 on Monday, is another title contender as a former US Open winner and two-time Australian Open runner-up.

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