Jannik Sinner destroys precocity records: is he currently the best in the world?

The Italian champion is playing a fabulous first part of the season: now the duel with Alcaraz in the Indian Wells semifinal

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Jannik Sinner destroys precocity records: is he currently the best in the world?
© Matthew Stockman / Staff Getty Images Sport

Jannik Sinner became the youngest player in the Open Era to start a season with 16 consecutive victories, thanks to his victory against Jiri Lehecka in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open 2024.

Sinner started the season by winning the Australian Open, then won the Rotterdam tournament and is now in the semifinals of the ATP Master 1000 in Indian Wells.

16 initial victories of the season are an exceptional result, obtained in relation to the lowest age of the Open Era, as mentioned: Jannik in fact reached this milestone at 22 years and 211 days.

Novak Djokovic follows the Italian talent in this special ranking. The Serbian did it in 2011 at 23 years and 299 days. Third place for Bjorn Borg in 1980 at 23 years and 302 days. Then Roger Federer in 2006 at 24 years and 207 days. John McEnroe at 25 years and 17 days in 1984.

Sinner is also just one success away from equaling Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the record for the best starts of the season from 1990 to today.
We take 1990 as a reference because since then there has been a structure of the tournament calendar very similar to the current one. From that time point, Sinner surpassed Andre Agassi with tonight's victory.

In front of him are Roger Federer from 2018 who started the season with 17 successes and 0 defeats and Pete Sampras, with the same result of 17-0, in 1997. In second place in this ranking still ahead of Sinner is Rafael Nadal , which in 2022 achieves 20 successes in a row.

Novak Djokovic seems truly unattainable in first place in this ranking in 2011 in which he won the first 41 matches played in the season, losing his first only in the semi-final at Roland Garros.

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

Also Carlitos Alcaraz praies Jannik Sinner

The Califonian hard-courts of the Indian Wells Garden will be the stage for the eagerly awaited semifinal between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. A match that will also be valid for the second position in the ATP ranking. Sinner, in the event of victory, will overtake and become the new ATP No.2.

At the press conference after the victory over Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz spoke about this and much more, focusing on the bee-issue, the match won with the German and his rivalry with Sinner.

"It was the most unusual match of my entire career. I have never seen anything like this with the invasion of bees and I will remember this for my whole career. During the match I saw some bees, I tried to stay away but there were hundreds of them and some were running towards me, it was all crazy. I was a bit scared, we suspended matches a couple of times due to this situation and only after they were over did I think about the match.

I honestly don't know how I'll approach the semi-final but right now Jannik Sinner is undoubtedly the best player in the world. Paul's statements about Sinner were very funny but in reality he is playing incredible tennis. I like to see him play, it will be a difficult duel and I will be able to see where I am at and what my level is.

In the last two matches against him I lost, I know I will have to change something and we will see how it goes. It's definitely the hardest match this year for me," he analyzed.

Carlos Alcaraz and Matthew Stockman
Carlos Alcaraz and Matthew Stockman© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

After reaching the semi-final, Sinner also talked about his Spanish rival.

"Alcaraz certainly pushed me to improve. I believe that every player, when struggling to win or beat an opponent, has something to work on. It's not just Carlos. There are other players who have made me grow as a player.

When you reach this kind of level, then you have to work for different things again. I think that's what the previous Big 3 or Big 4 have done in a similar way. We try to do the same. But who will be the next top player we don't know yet, because we are all so young

It's still always fun to play with Alcaraz. We are good friends off the court. On the pitch we try to give 100%. The matches are usually good. Last year against him, especially on this pitch, I struggled a lot.

He played much better than me, and then two weeks later I played in Miami and I won. It will be a good match, I can't wait to face every challenge," explained the Italian.

Jannik Sinner Alcaraz Indian Wells