‘Jannik Sinner is like the same version of Novak Djokovic’, claims former world No 1

Ewan West
Post-match hug between Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic
Jannik Sinner, left, of Italy is congratulated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia

Former doubles world No 1 Rennae Stubbs believes that Jannik Sinner is “like the same version” of tennis legend Novak Djokovic due to the completeness of his game.

The tennis analyst thinks Sinner has “more upside” than Carlos Alcaraz, while former world No 9 Andrea Petkovic feels the Italian is a bad matchup for the Spaniard in the same way Djokovic is.

Sinner has been compared to Djokovic by some observers given the duo are both such well-rounded players and are dominant from the baseline off both sides. The pair are also renowned for their movement and ability to slide on court.

Djokovic holds a 4-3 head-to-head record against Sinner, although the 24-time Grand Slam champion has lost three of his last four clashes with his young rival.

Sinner defeated the world No 1 in the semi-finals of the 2024 Australian Open in January en route to claiming his maiden major crown. The world No 3 ended the 10-time Australian Open winner’s 33-match winning streak at the Melbourne major, while he also earned two wins against the Serbian in November.

The Italian has won four of his seven encounters with two-time major winner Alcaraz, including the last two meetings — with their most recent matchup coming in Beijing in October.

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Speaking on Racquet’s Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, Stubbs lauded Sinner for the way he is developing his game and likened the 22-year-old to his 36-year-old rival Djokovic.

“I think that Sinner has more upside [than Alcaraz]. I think he can get better at hitting the dropshot, which he is doing,” the Australian assessed.

“He is implementing that forehand dropshot which is great, even won him a couple of really big points against Alex de Minaur [in Rotterdam], who is arguably the best mover in tennis. He hit that a couple of times against him on some big points, couple of break points.

“I think his net game is improving experientially. Darren [Cahill] turned a huge influence in that department. So, I think he is moving forward his dropshots and his slice backhand. That’s a work in progress.

“You think about, ‘Where he is attackable? Where do you win a point against him?’ You can’t. He is like the same version of Novak Djokovic.”

Petkovic, a winner of seven WTA singles titles, argued Sinner’s solidity is comparable to that of Djokovic and is the reason he has had success against his Spanish competitor.

“Novak troubles Alcaraz. Even old Novak is troubling Alcaraz because he is so solid and that’s why I think Jannik has been a bad matchup for Carlos before he found Jannik Sinner, the Australian Open champion,” the German said.

“I do think that Jannik, because of his solidity, is actually going to win more matches against Carlos. But, I do think, put next to each other, Carlos has more, as of now, more variety in his game.”

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