‘Jannik Sinner shares champion’s mentality with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal’, feels former world No 8

Ewan West
Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner celebrates winning the men's final of the Rotterdam Open tennis tournament against Australia's Alex De Minaur at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam.

Two-time major finalist Mark Philippoussis has lauded Jannik Sinner for possessing the same “champion’s mentality” as tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

The former world No 8 described Sinner as “such a good kid” and declared that constantly striving to get better is what sets players like the Italian, Djokovic and Nadal apart.

Sinner defeated Daniil Medvedev in five sets, having trailed by two sets to love, in the final of the 2024 Australian Open last month to win his first Grand Slam title.

The 22-year-old overcame world No 1 and 24-time major champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Melbourne to reach his first Grand Slam final.

In his first tournament since his victory, Sinner triumphed at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam last week, where he saw off Alex de Minaur in straight sets the final.

The Italian, who climbed to a career high world ranking of No 3 this week, has now won 15 straight matches, having last tasted defeat in the final of the 2023 ATP Finals in November against Djokovic.

READ MORE: Jannik Sinner gives telling insight into his champion mentality with Australian Open revelation

Speaking on the Sooshi Mango Saucy Meatballs Podcast, Philippoussis praised Sinner as a person and hailed his mentality and desire to keep improving.

“You know the best thing, he’s such a good kid. I jumped on it too (the bandwagon). He was my pick, by the way, at the start of the tournament (the Australian Open). He was my pick,” the Australian said.

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“He’s a great kid. You see him walking by, he looks at you, says hello, gives respect to anybody. His team is a great team, and he’s got a champion’s mentality.

“After he won, in the locker room, he’s going to ask the question, ‘how can I get better?’ That’s the difference between Nadal and the Djokovic [and other players]. That’s the champion’s mentality. These guys are always looking to get better.”

Philippoussis, an 11-time titlist on the ATP Tour, reached the final of the 1998 US Open, where he was defeated by countryman Pat Rafter in four sets. The Aussie was also a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2003, where he was beaten in straight sets by Federer as the Swiss legend claimed his maiden major.

The former world No 8 spent spells coaching Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas during 2022 and 2023. Philippoussis was in Tsitsipas’ box for his run to the final of the 2023 Australian Open.

Having suffered multiple injury setbacks in his career, Philippoussis played his final professional match in 2015 in the first qualifying round for the ATP event in Newport, losing to Eric Quigley. The Australian’s biggest triumph came in 1999, when he defeated Carlos Moya in five sets to win the Indian Wells Masters.

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