Jannik Sinner has fired a warning to Novak Djokovic that he is now ready to beat him at Grand Slam tournaments. The Italian beat the world No 1 at the ATP Finals on Tuesday and believes he is now mentally ready to compete on the biggest stage.
Sinner beat Djokovic for the first time in his career in Turin in a three-set thriller. He took the first set 7-5 before Djokovic took the second on a tie-break.
The third set also went to a tie-break and it was Sinner who came out on top to stun the defending champion. At the fourth time of trying, the 22-year-old overcame the 24-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic has knocked Sinner out of Wimbledon for the past two years, including the semi-final of this year’s tournament, the furthest he has ever got at a major. Sinner says Tuesday’s victory shows the improvement he has made and proves he is getting closer to the likes of Djokovic.
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He said: “I always say when you are 22 years old, you can only improve and learn, no? My process, especially this year, was a good process because we practised a lot also during tournaments.
“We didn’t play a couple tournaments to practice, to get better physically. This for me, in my way and everything, helped me a lot to also come end of the season quite fresh, not only physically but also mentally, ready to play, even if I know in my mind that after here and Davis Cup, it’s finished.
“Still, it’s all part of the process. Obviously, I also said after Wimby that I felt a little bit closer this year, even if I lost in three sets. Last year in Wimby, I lost in five, but I felt more closer this year.
“Today also could happen that I lose easy in two, no? You never know how this sport is. But I was quite confident to trying to play a good match, which at the end of the day was the case.”
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Sinner admits the win was his best moment of the year so far. And he warned Djokovic that there is more to come in future meetings between the pair as he now knows he can defeat him.
He said: “Putting together all circumstances, playing here in Turin against the No 1 in the world, he won 24 Grand Slams, with such an atmosphere and everything, I think it’s in the top, top, no?
“Obviously, as I said before, even if I would have lost today, the match was really good. Also for my mind was really important to go close this match so in my mind I know I can really try to win against him also for the next matches. I think it’s in the top, so…”
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