‘Waiting to understand how Novak Djokovic is, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are ahead’

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz v Jannik Sinner after their match
Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, left, talks with Jannik Sinner, of Italy, after their match

Former world No 3 Ivan Ljubicic believes that Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will be the “points of reference” for other players on the ATP Tour in the coming years. 

Ljubicic declared “we are waiting to understand” Novak Djokovic’s status given his start to the year, while assessing that Alcaraz and Sinner are “ahead of all the others.”

Between them, Sinner and Alcaraz have won the three ‘big titles’ on offer so far in the 2024 season to reinforce their standing as the two leading young stars in men’s tennis.

Sinner claimed his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January and won his second ATP Masters 1000 event at the Miami Open last week. The 22-year-old Italian’s latest victory — his third title of the year — has seen him overtake Alcaraz to become the world No 2.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, ended his eight-month wait for a title by securing the Indian Wells Masters in March. Prior to winning the Masters 1000 crown, the 20-year-old Spaniard had lost the only final he had made since his triumph at Wimbledon in July last year.

Djokovic has not won a title since his victory at the ATP Finals in November at the end of his incredible 2023 campaign. The 36-year-old was beaten by Sinner in the last four at the Australian Open and fell to an upset defeat to Luca Nardi in the third round in Indian Wells.

READ MORE: Jannik Sinner’s coach reveals ‘huge moment’ his mindset changed in ‘no fear’ claim

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ljubicic expressed why he was not at all concerned for Sinner after Alcaraz ended his winning streak in Indian Wells.

“It was just a matter of resetting and starting again, and he had already shown that he knew how to do it: after losing the Masters final in Turin in November, he won 19 matches in a row and the first Slam of his career,” said the Croatian.

“The history of Jannik’s journey in recent years teaches us that he will have already analysed all the details that didn’t work to be ready with countermeasures next time: he learns from defeats, he doesn’t get depressed because he lost.

“On the other side of the net, there is always an opponent, let’s not forget that. And in the case of Alcaraz, he is an opponent who has already won two Slams at the age of 20 therefore with enormous qualities.

“On the other hand, there are very few players who can put Sinner in difficulty, and it is not certain that the Spaniard’s winning Indian Wells tactics will bear the same fruits in the future.”

The 45-year-old, who coached tennis great Roger Federer from 2016 until his retirement in 2022, also backed Alcaraz and Sinner to remain ahead of the chasing pack.

“I believe that at this moment, waiting to understand how Djokovic is, Alcaraz and Sinner are ahead of all the others and will remain there in the coming years too. They will be the points of reference,” the 10-time ATP titlist predicted.

READ MORE: When could Jannik Sinner replace Novak Djokovic as the new world No 1?