Sinner’s dominating AO win shatters Djokovic’s aura of invincibility | Tennis News

Jannik Sinner has breathed a lot of life into men’s tennis. It was getting monotonous, if truth be told. Novak Djokovic won three grand slams last year, and he went into the 2024 Australian Open as an overwhelming favourite. On the motivation front, he had a lot going for him. He was just one triumph away from becoming the first player to win 25 singles grand slams across men’s and women’s tennis. He was tied with Margaret Court at 24.

Italy’s Jannik Sinner reacts on a point against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their men’s singles semi-final match of the Australian Open(AFP)

This was undoubtedly the biggest match of the tournament for Djokovic. Sinner was one of the very few players who had beaten the Serb before, particularly in recent months. In November, he beat Djokovic twice, first in the ATP Finals and then in the David Cup semi-final tie. So there was a lot of buzz ahead of the match.

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When early this month Rafael Nadal announced he won’t play in the Australian Open because of his fresh injury concerns, it appeared the Happy Slam was now for the taking for Djokovic.

The Serb enjoys a massive following the world over but for many, his dominance was getting a bit too much, to the detriment of the game. Sinner has well and truly changed the order of the tennis world after showing Djokovic the door in the Australian Open semi-finals on Friday.

Sinner had many backers in the lead-up to the game. However, none could have foreseen a win like that for the Italian. The 22-year-old was just too good and in three out of four sets, he was kind of unrivalled. Only in the third set, Djokovic appeared to give him some kind of fight but on the whole, Sinner was in control of the contest and ran away to a famous 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 victory.

The manner of Sinner’s win against Djokovic will go a long way. He has shattered Djoker’s aura of invincibility. The tennis world was desperate for the emergence of new, potent stars following the retirement of Roger Federer and Nadal’s career-threatening injuries.

The spotlight on the Djokovic-Sinner encounter was all the more in light of Carlos Alcaraz’s exit on Wednesday. Alcaraz was another player who had beaten Djokovic last year — in the Wimbledon final. One title rival less for the Serb! It appeared higher forces were totally behind him.

Sinner’s domination will definitely open the door for so many up-and-coming players. They will now know Djokovic can be beaten, and beaten comprehensively on top of that. Sinner’s victory could be the beginning of an era where Djokovic is no longer an overwhelming favourite going into tournaments.

But it would be wrong to assume that the defeat will prove to be the death knell for Djokovic. Yes, it was his turf having not lost here since 2018, having won 10 grand slams here, the most by any player. For a player of Djokovic’s calibre and talent, it can’t be the end of the road. It’s just that going forward he will have to fight much harder for his titles and despite that, he may not win often as has been the norm, particularly in the last few years.

There were ominous signs for Djokovic heading into the semi-final tie. Djokovic had lost three sets, one each against Dino Prizmic, Alexei Popyrin and Taylor Fritz, and that was an indication that Serb had some issues. Last year, he had lost just one set all through his winning campaign in Melbourne. Besides, during the 2024 edition, he had spoken of batting some illness as well as a wrist injury. We don’t know yet if they were serious issues. Sinner’s comments following the match, however, do provide some insights. “It was very, very tough. I felt like [Djokovic] wasn’t feeling that great so I kept pushing. I just tried to be ready for the fourth set, which I started off really, really well,” the first Italian to reach the Australian Open singles final said.

Be that as it may, Sinner’s victory has indeed opened up men’s tennis. Djokovic doesn’t lose like that often. The Italian is now waiting for his opponent in the final with Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev battling it out in the second semi-final at present. The 2024 Australian Open is set to see a new champion. As of now, Sinner, who led Italy to their first Davis Cup title in 47 years in November 2023, will fancy his chances.

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