Sinner or Djokovic: next weeks will tell who of them is the (actual) hard-courts King

The Italian and the Serb will play at Indian Wells and Miami: we will understand who is the actual ruler on hard-courts

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Sinner or Djokovic: next weeks will tell who of them is the (actual) hard-courts King
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Jannik Sinner discussed the topics that concern him most during the media day of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and in an interview with Sky Sport. Like the possibility of becoming the new ATP No.2 and the event represented by the Paris Olympic Games.

"It doesn't just depend on me: there are other factors, such as the weather, and many other players who are doing well. To get to be second in the ATP ranking, I know I have to play a very continuous season. This doesn't mean winning all the tournaments, but being ready to compete," he underlined, focusing on the season as a whole still to be experienced and not just the next two weeks.

The first discussions about which athletes will represent Italy in the summer are starting to emerge regarding the Olympics. Jannik chose to play doubles at Indian Wells with his friend Lorenzo Sonego.

"I have a good relationship with him off the court too. When we enter the field, we try to win the match but always have fun. We are trying to understand which group can have the best chance of winning a medal, now we think and live in the present," he said. 

On the Indian Wells match against Thanasi Kokkinakis, who joined him in the second round of the main draw of the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season, Sinner analyzed: "We put ourselves to work to improve after Rotterdam. I feel prepared and ready to play. We have did a great job and I hope to show it on the court."

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner© Matthew Stockman / Staff Getty Images Sport

Let's talk about Novak Djokovic. The Serbian started the new tennis season with a disappointment at the Australian Open, caused by Jannik Sinner. Considering this statistic and the way the defeat against the Italian in the semi-final came about, several question marks may have invaded the mind of the person concerned.

The Serbian champion, during the Media Day of the ATP Masters 1000 in California in Indian Wells, admitted that he had thought a lot about what happened in Melbourne, to understand what didn't work throughout the entire tournament. Djokovic did not appear in his best form and only at times expressed the level that he generally shows in the Majors.

"Australia is where I've won the most Slams. For most of my career, I've started the season by winning a Major and that gives you great confidence for the rest of the year. When you start the year this way, you have more confidence and feel relieved. This year, as has happened before, I started asking myself questions. I don't feel like I've had the right time to rest and prepare properly like I did before, but that's the way things are," said Djokovic before renewing his compliments to Sinner.

"I don't think I played my best tennis in Australia, which Sinner did. He was simply better than me in the semi-final and then made an incredible comeback in the final to win his first Slam. An absolutely deserved success," he added.

Novak Djokovic & Jannik Sinner, Australian Open 2024
Novak Djokovic & Jannik Sinner, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Some of the answers he is looking for, Djokovic could already find at the BNP Paribas Open. After five long years, the Serbian champion will return to compete in California.

"It's great to be back here, there's a reason they call it Tennis Paradise. It's a great experience for both the players and the fans. Everyone who loves the sport enjoys the tournament. I'm very excited to come back, they've been through five years since the last time and time goes really fast," he told.

Currently, Sinner and Djokovic are the two best performers in hard-court tennis (indoor and outdoor). The threats for them are Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev, but for one reason or another, the young Spaniard and the Russian don't seem to be at the same level as the young Italian and the Serbian champion.

The head-to-head between Sinner and Djokovic could culminate between Indian Wells and the Miami Open. The Sunshine Doubles will tell us a lot about the progress Sinner is showing and Djokovic's current physical level.

The Serbian superstar seems to have had some physical problems in Melbroune, even if he didn't say anything about it. Should he have fully overcome all his physical problems, Nole has no rivals on this surface. Or rather: he has only one rival, Sinner, in fact. As long as the young Italian continues to show his progress and his dominant tennis on hard courts.

Indian Wells