Jannik Sinner won his first career Major at the Australian Open 2024, after an extraordinary tournament that crowned six months of progress, great performances and titles.
The young Italian beat, among others, the ATP No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic (in the semifinals) and Andrey Rublev (quarterfinals). In the final, Sinner defeated Daniil Medvedev in 5 sets, despite him having lost the first two sets of the match. Sinner also defeated the Russian for the fourth consecutive time, the third in the final.
Jannik won the Australian Open at 22 years and 165 days, having been born on August 16, 2001. But at what age did top tennis players win their first tournament?
Among the youngest Slam champions are Boris Becker, who won the Wimbledon 1985 at 17 years and 228 days, Mats Wilander, who won the Roland Garros 1982 at 17 years and 288 days and Bjorn Borg, who won the Roland Garros 1974 at 18 years and 10 days.
Rafael Nadal won the Roland Garros 2005 at 19 years and 2 days. First Slam at 19 also for Pete Sampras (US Open 1990 at 19 years and 28 days), Carlos Alcaraz (US Open 2022 at 19 years and 129 days) and Stefan Edberg (Australian Open 1985 at 19 years and 323 days).
Novak Djokovic won his first Slam when he was 20 years old while John McEnroe won his first Slam - at the 1979 edition of the US Open - at 20 years and 205 days. 20 years and 250 days was the age that - as mentioned - Djokovic was at the time of his first Slam success at the Australian Open 2008.
21 years and 121 days was Jimmy Connors' age when he scored at the 1974 edition of the Australian Open. Roger Federer won Wimbledon 2003 at the age of 21 years and 332 days. André Agassi is definitely close to Jannik Sinner's data. champion at Wimbledon 1992 at 22 years and 67 days Ivan Lendl took longer to win his first Slam at 24 years and 95 days at Roland Garros 1984. Finally Daniil Medvedev won his first and so far only Slam at the US Open in 25 years and 214 days.
As for Sinner's countrymen, Nicola Pietrangeli won his first Roland Garros in 1959, at 25 years and 262 days. Adriano Panatta won the 1976 Roland Garros at 25 years and 340 days. Jannik Sinner is therefore the youngest Italian Slam champion ever.
But Sinner is not just precocity
In fact, there is one thing that the young Italian has in common with Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, who won their first Major in Melbourne.
Roger Federer won his first Major in the tournament in which he wrote history, Wimbledon. The Swiss won his first Slam on the London lawns in 2003. For Rafael Nadal too, the first Slam came where he became King, in Paris. The Spanish player won his first ever Slam in 2005 at Roland Garros.
Sinner has one thing in common with Novak Djokovic now. The Serbian player won his first Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne in 2008. Also Wawrinka as Sinner Going slightly backwards we see the first Slam victory of two multiple winners of the recent past.
Pete Sampras won his first Slam at the 1990 US Open. While Andre Agassi's first came at the 1992 Wimbledon tournament which he would never win again. Returning to the players who have scored from 2010 onwards, first Slam success for Andy Murray at the 2012 US Open.
The other player who managed to fit in several times in the Big 3 Djokovic-Federer-Nadal's period is Stan Wawrinka. The first of his three Slam successes came at the 2014 Australian Open. For Marin Cilic a single success, obtained at the 2014 US Open.
First and only time at Slam level also for Dominic Thiem, winner in New York in 2020. Daniil Medvedev's first and so far only Slam success came at the 2021 US Open while the first success of Carlos Alcaraz's current two came in New York at the 2022 US Open.
After the victory in Melbourne, during the photo shooting at the Botanical Gardens, Sinner said: "My role model has always been Federer, not only for his class but for the way he presents himself: the important thing is to surround yourself with the best people and face all with a smile. Novak Djokovic is from another series. I still have a lot to give.
For now I'm happy like this, to be able to hold this cup in my hand. I don't know if we are facing a changing of the guard, it is difficult to predict what will happen in the future. But I can say that I am happy to be part of the new generation, because I am what sport needs.
I didn't sleep much, but it's nice to be here on this wonderful day, to celebrate this incredible milestone, achieved thanks to the help of my team. After the match I went to have something to eat with them, we talked for a bit, but it was a very, very quiet evening.
I'll finish doing the last few things and I'll have a flight tonight, I'll rest a bit and then I'll get back to work. It was an important success for me and for my career, for my team, but it doesn't change anything about who I am. I'm a simple guy, I can't wait to get back to work."