Former British No 1 predicts who could topple Novak Djokovic and highlights a rising British youngster
Novak Djokovic ended the year with two defeats against Jannik Sinner in quick success and now Laura Robson has backed the Italian to challenge the world No 1 heading into 2024.
Djokovic was beaten by Italian youngster Sinner in the group stages of the ATP Finals in Turin.
He quickly gained revenge over Sinner by handing him a comprehensive beating in the final of that event a few days later, confirming his status as the undisputed king of tennis.
Yet Sinner came back from three match points down to beat Djokovic at the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga and went on to beat the Serbian as he led Italy to first Davis Cup win since 1976.
Now former British No 1 Robson has backed Sinner to make a huge mark in the game next year, as she believes the 22-year-old is ready to move to the next level and challenge for a fist Grand Slam title and she also picked out Britain’s Jack Draper as a player to watch next year.
“I’m just so excited about Sinner,” Robson told Sky Sports. “I just love his game and I think with the wins that he had at the ATP Finals and the confidence he is getting by reaching these finals, I just feel like 2024 is going to be huge for him and I don’t feel like I’m the only one who thinks like that.
“It’s an obvious opinion amongst everyone in tennis because he’s grown so much over the last two years already, but then you’ve got Britain’s Jack Draper, who we hope will stay injury free and have a huge, huge season.
“His game is electric and he’s got the huge lefty serve. I’m hopeful for him but I don’t want to jinx it.”
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Despite her positive words for Sinner, Robson believes Djokovic will extend his lead in the Grand Slam title race in 2024 as she stated: “It’s hard not seeing Djokovic winning at least two Grand Slams next year because you’ve got to back him on both hardcourt Slams.
“We keep talking about the new generation but Djokovic is still winning everything so the old generation is still doing very well.”
Robson is also impressed by the progress of 14-year-old British player Hannah Klugman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open junior event and is tipped to make a big breakthrough in the game.
“I thought that was a really cool thing that Sky did over the US Open because I got to commentate on Hannah’s match and usually I wouldn’t see any of her matches televised or anything and it was really fun for her to come into the studio and have that experience of chatting to Gigi and everyone.
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— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 25, 2023
“I don’t want to put any pressure on Hannah because she’s so, so young. As long as she keeps continuing down the path that’s she’s on, she’s got a great team and her coach has done a fantastic job with her, so she’ll be one to look out for.
“I’m always glass half-full when it comes to British tennis but the hope is to watch players come through, although some people have very quick transitions through the junior level while others take longer.
“I think the perfect example of that is Carlos Alcaraz who’s gone from 100 and won a Grand Slam in his first couple of years on tour, while Sinner has been building and growing. Now you feel he’s ready mentally to do it.”
Robson will be a member of the Sky Sports team as the broadcaster returns to tennis in 2024 with exclusive rights to screen the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as the US Open.
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