How Jannik Sinner can make Open Era history with feat that eluded Djokovic, Nadal, Federer

Ewan West
Jannik Sinner with the Australian Open trophy
Jannik Sinner with the Australian Open trophy

Jannik Sinner is on a 15-match winning streak after prevailing in his first 12 matches of 2024 in a sensational start to the season, and he could make history in Indian Wells. 

The 22-year-old Italian began his campaign by claiming his first major title at the Australian Open last month, where he overcame Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final.

The world No 3 then became the first player since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 to win the next ATP tournament entered after winning their maiden Grand Slam title with his victory at the Rotterdam Open.

Tennis icons Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were among the 16 first-time men’s Grand Slam champions since Hewitt who failed to triumph at their next event.

READ MORE: How Jannik Sinner’s title run after maiden Grand Slam compares to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer

Sinner is next set to feature at the Indian Wells Masters next month and a title run would see him become the first ATP player in the Open Era to win his next two tournaments after claiming a first Grand Slam crown.

Here are the seven players who followed up a maiden major title by winning their next event, but fell short of winning two.

Andres Gimeno – 1972

Andres Gimeno won his only Grand Slam title at the 1972 French Open, where he defeated France’s Patrick Proisy 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match.

The Spaniard then prevailed in his following tournament at the grass-court event in Eastbourne, with a 7-5, 6-3 final victory over another Frenchman, Pierre Barthes.

In the second tournament after his Roland Garros triumph, Gimeno was beaten 4-6, 6-8, 8-6, 9-8, 4-6 by New Zealand’s Onny Parun in the second round of Wimbledon.

Ilie Nastase – 1972 

Ilie Nastase secured the first of his two major crowns at the 1972 US Open, where he overcame Arthur Ashe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

The Romanian triumphed at his next tournament in Seattle with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 final win over American Tom Gorman, before he fell to a 7-5, 4-6, 2-6 last 16 loss to another home player, Roscoe Tanner, in Los Angeles.

Jimmy Connors – 1974 

Jimmy Connors claimed the first of his eight Grand Slam titles at the 1974 Australian Open with a 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 final triumph over home favourite Phil Dent.

The American followed that up by seeing off German Karl Meiler 6-4, 6-3 to win the event in Raonoke. Connors then lost 3-6, 6-1, 1-6 to the same opponent in the Omaha title match the next week, making him the only player to come within one win of achieving the feat.

Sergi Bruguera – 1993 

Sergi Bruguera won his first of two French Open titles at the 1993 edition of Roland Garros, where he defeated America’s Jim Courier 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the championship match.

The Spaniard then entered his next event on the clay courts of Gstaad after skipping Wimbledon and downed the Czech, Karel Novacek, 6-3, 6-4 for the title. Bruguera fell 6-4, 4-6, 1-6 to compatriot Alberto Berasategui in the opening match at the following event he played in Stuttgart.

Thomas Muster – 1995 

Thomas Muster secured the only major title of his career at the 1995 French Open with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 final victory against American Michael Chang.

Like Bruguera had two years prior, Muster opted to miss Wimbledon, before re-emerging in St. Polten, where he beat Czech player Bohdan Ulihrach 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the clay-court title match. The Austrian suffered a 5-7, 1-6 loss to Spaniard Alex Corretja in the opening round of Gstaad in his second tournament after Roland Garros.

Marat Safin – 2000

Marat Safin won the first of his two Grand Slam crowns at the US Open in 2000, where he defeated America tennis great Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.

The Russian backed up his maiden major with a 6-3, 6-4 final victory over Italy’s Davide Sanguinetti in Tashkent at his next tournament, before falling 6-1, 1-6, 4-6 to Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the opening round at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Lleyton Hewitt – 2001

Lleyton Hewitt claimed his maiden major and first of two Grand Slams at the 2001 US Open with a 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-1 final demolition of Sampras to follow in Safin’s footsteps.

The Australian’s 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Switzerland’s Michel Kratochvil saw him claim the title in Tokyo in his next ATP Tour appearance. Hewitt’s run ended in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Masters, where he was beaten 6-3, 2-6, 4-6 by Tommy Haas of Germany.

READ MORE: Jannik Sinner lauded for avoiding Emma Raducanu, Matteo Berrettini ‘fault’ by refusing big invite