Who is Jannik Sinner: Fun facts about the Italian youngster who felled the mighty Djokovic

Things you may, or may not know, about one of Italy’s most exciting tennis players

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after victory against Serbia's Novak Djokovic during the Australian Open. - AFP
Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after victory against Serbia's Novak Djokovic during the Australian Open. - AFP

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 1:44 PM

Italian Jannik Sinner dropped a bombshell at the Australian Open on Friday when he defeated defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in the semifinals.

It was Sinner’s first Grand Slam victory over the Serbian great having lost their previous two encounters, both at Wimbledon also in the semis in 2024 and the quarterfinals the previous year.

The 22-year-old Italian trailed Djokovic 6-2 in head-to-head matches leading up to this year’s Melbourne showpiece, but on Friday used his

scorching forehand and aggressive baseline power shots to hand his opponent his first defeat in Australia in over six years.

So who is Jannik Sinner?

Serbia's Novak Djokovic attends a press conference after losing to Italy's Jannik Sinner. - AFP
Serbia's Novak Djokovic attends a press conference after losing to Italy's Jannik Sinner. - AFP

Here are five interesting facts about the rising star who has not dropped a set in the tournament this year.

Ski champion

It’s not surprising to know that Sinner was an accomplished skier having grown up in the famous Dolomite Mountains a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in his hometown in South Tyrol.

He was a top-ranked skier who once raced with Lindsey Vonn, one of America’s legendary skiers. Despite his love for the ice Sinner turned to tennis to forge a name for himself.

Sinner hosted hosted Lindsey Vonn near his hometown. - Instagram
Sinner hosted hosted Lindsey Vonn near his hometown. - Instagram

Idolising Federer

As a youngster, Sinner idolized Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer but said he was disappointed that he never got the chance to play against him in an official match. Interestingly, he is often compared to Federer because of his extraordinary composure during matches, which he demonstrated on Friday against Djokovic.

Endurance hero

Sinner has featured in some of the longest matches ever in Grand Slam history. In the 2023 French OpenSinner played his longest match against Germany’s Daniel Altmaier of Germany, with the pair staying battling on the court for 5 hours and 26 minutes. His second-longest match was at the 2022 US Open where he was engaged in a titanic 5 hours and 15 minutes thriller against Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.At last year’s Australian Open, Sinner went down to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in a duel that lasted 4 hours.

Youngest Italian

Sinner is yet to win at the pinnacle of this sport but has made history as the youngest Italian male player to reach the Grand Slam semifinals in the open era, a milestone he accomplished at Wimbledon in 2023. The Italian talent has also reached four quarterfinals the most famous of which was in the 2020 French Open where he beat Alexander Zverev before going down to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

Fashion statement

Despite having only turned pro in 2018 Sinner has already amassed prize money estimated to be more than $15 million. He is a philanthropist and extremely fashion-conscious. Sinner caught the eye at Wimbledon last year when he came onto centre-court carrying a Gucci duffel bag. It was the first time in tennis history that a player used a designer bag to carry his racquets, towels and on-court essentials. He subsequently became an Ambassador for the Italian luxury fashion house.

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