‘Special’ Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz tipped to lead youth revolution

By Sports Desk January 29, 2024

“Special” Jannik Sinner is ready to lead tennis’ youth revolution alongside Carlos Alcaraz, according to his coach Darren Cahill.

Sinner’s comeback victory against Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final gave him a first grand slam title and appears a sign of things to come.

The 22-year-old has followed in the wake of Carlos Alcaraz, who is two years younger, and between them they have now won three of the last six slams, with Novak Djokovic winning the rest.

The Serbian will be 37 in May and, while writing him off would be extremely premature, there is no doubt the hierarchy is changing.

Cahill said: “I think this sport at the moment has a few superstars. I think Carlos is very similar to Jannik in both the way they play with the excitement level they bring to the game, and their personalities and their likability.

“Both guys are incredibly alike off the court. They both like each other. They have a friendly rivalry. They both light it up when they play each other. I don’t think any of their matches have ever been boring.

“I think we have some really good personalities in the game at the moment, and it’s important they keep winning. It’s important they do what Jannik was able to do, and that’s to show a side of this young generation that are going to fight until the very end.”

He continued: “They really want to make a name for themselves, and Jannik did that. Carlos has done that already a couple of times, the match he played at Wimbledon to beat Novak was just a special performance.

“Our job now is just to make sure that we keep him pumped up. It’s a long year, and it’s important to enjoy the moment, but when we get back onto the tennis court, we will try to keep him in that good mindset and try to keep him winning.”

Alcaraz became a slam champion as a teenager in New York before stunning Djokovic in five sets at Wimbledon last summer.

Sinner’s path has been more gradual and Cahill, who previously worked with the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep, has no doubt Alcaraz’s success has inspired his man.

“Hell, yeah, absolutely,” he said with a smile. “There’s no question seeing the young players come through and having success drives each and every one of them. Not just Jannik. They all desire it.

“Carlos has trailblazed for a lot of young players. We’re thankful for that. He’s a delight to watch play, and a delight to watch him on court. We aspire to be as good as him and hopefully one day be better than him but, at the moment we’re chasing Carlos, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Sinner, who hails from the north of Italy and was a champion skier as a child, split from long-term coach Riccardo Piatti in the summer of 2022 and hired renowned Australian Cahill and countryman Simone Vagnozzi.

The combination is certainly working, and Cahill added: “We believe in Jannik, we always have. He’s a special young kid. Even the way he hits the ball, it just sounds special.

“When you hit the ball the way he does, when you want to improve the way he does, when you move the way he does, he’s going to have success at some point.

“Our job as coaches is to try to fast track that as quickly as possible and get him to where he wants to go quickly so he can have a long window at the top of the game.

“He’s been doing well. He’s absorbing everything and trying new things on the court, and he just wants to get better. I’m sure after this sinks in he won’t settle. He’ll never settle.”

Sinner is popular with his peers, who have long known the explosive power contained in his wiry frame.

Speaking on Eurosport, Australian star Nick Kyrgios said: “Jannik is an incredibly nice guy in the locker room. You always see him super professional, but he’s like a sponge.

“Ever since he came on tour that first match he played against Steve Johnson in Rome, the locker room was watching and thinking, ‘Who is this skinny guy who has the crowd in the palm of his hand?’. We could already see the ball-striking.

“This is going to be such a big leapfrog to him, I think we’re going to see him win plenty more slams in the next couple of years. Now he’s got this one, he’s going to be unstoppable.”

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