ATP

The pride of Italy: Sinner's route to world number one in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk June 12, 2024

Step aside Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, tennis has a new world number one on the block in Jannik Sinner.

The 22-year-old, born in San Candido, ended a 51-year wait for Italy to boast the ATP's best player in the world rankings after moving to top spot this month.

Sinner overtook Djokovic at the summit of the men's game after his French Open performance, reaching the Roland-Garros final before falling in a five-set thriller to the battling Alcaraz.

Having already secured his first major at the Australian Open earlier this year, Sinner's remarkable rise continued in Paris – but how has the Italian managed to do so?

Here, we unpack the best of the Opta data to delve into Sinner's surge to world number one.

Major champion in Australia

Sinner was crowned a grand slam champion for the first time in his career back in January, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final after overcoming a two-set deficit in Melbourne.

Sweeping aside Djokovic in the last four and Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals, his route to glory was far from straightforward, too.

Aged 22 years and 165 days at the time of his Melbourne Park triumph, Sinner became the youngest-ever player to achieve successive ATP top-five wins in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of a major, surpassing Michael Stich – 22 years and 262 days at Wimbledon in 1991.

That Medvedev victory, at the time, also marked Sinner's fourth top-five scalp of 2024.

Since 1973, Sinner is the only fourth player aged under 23 to claim four such wins in the opening three months of a season, after Bjorn Borg (1978-79), Miloslav Mecir (1987) and Andy Murray (2007 and 2009).

Special 2023 sets tone for this year's success

Sinner enjoyed a remarkable campaign last year, winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Canadian Open and finishing the season by reaching the showpiece of the ATP Finals.

He finished with a win-loss record of 64-15 in 2023, breaking the Open Era record previously held by Corrado Barazzutti (55, 1978) for most ATP match wins by an Italian in a calendar year.

En route to the Indian Wells semi-final defeat to Alcaraz, Sinner also claimed a 19th consecutive ATP match win after overcoming Jiri Lehecka, breaking Adriano Panatta's record for the longest winning streak at ATP level of any Italian in the Open Era.

It is hard to argue with his position at the top, too.

Sinner became only the fifth player before turning 23 to defeat the men's world number three times in a calendar year, having overcome Alcaraz and Djokovic (twice) in a remarkable 2023 season.

The Italian also helped his country lift the Davis Cup, though major individual honours were always around the corner for the excellent right-hander.

The best in the world

Australian Open successes and a fine 2023 campaign brought Sinner to his crowning moment in June as he became the first Italian to reach world number one since the ATP rankings started in 1973.

Sinner is one of four players in the past two decades to hold the ATP's number-one ranking before the age of 23, along with Roger Federer, Nadal and Alcaraz.

Since 2000, Sinner is also just the third male player taller than 188 centimetres to reach the summit of tennis before turning 23, along with Andy Roddick and Marat Safin.

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