Ex-French Open champion details why Novak Djokovic now 'fears' Jannik Sinner

Sinner beat Djokovic twice in two weeks this month.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ex-French Open champion details why Novak Djokovic now 'fears' Jannik Sinner
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Italian tennis legend and 1976 French Open champion Adriano Panatta thinks Jannik Sinner has reached a level where he is "a millimeter" away from Novak Djokovic and where the Serb "fears" the Italian. After losing to Djokovic in their first three meetings, world No 4 Sinner edged out the Serb in a thriller ATP Finals group-stage match 7-5 6-7 (5) 7-6 (2) for his first win.

Djokovic beat Sinner 6-3 6-3 in the Turin final but the Italian again beat the Serb a week later at the Davis Cup Final 8 with a 6-2 2-6 7-5 scoreline. In Malaga, Sinner saved three consecutive match points on his serve in the 10th game of the third set.

“He is an example, he is a millimeter from Djokovic, they play on equal terms. Saving three match points is a feat within a feat. Next time, Jannik will start with an advantage. Nole fears him. With Jannik, we are good for ten years, he is square and mature," Panatta told Corriere dello Sport.

What did Djokovic say of Sinner's game?

After suffering a devasting loss to Sinner in Malaga and failing to secure a Davis Cup final ticket for Serbia, Djokovic was visibly crushed but that didn't prevent him from speaking very highly of Sinner.

Djokovic praised Sinner's game - specifically mentioned the Italian's forehand - and acknowledged that the 22-year-old delivered a great performance. "Yeah, I mean, we know that he's got one of the fastest forehands in the game and he puts a lot of spin and a lot of power in it.

I wasn't surprised too much by that. I know Jannik's quality, but, you know, I was thinking maybe he's gonna drop a little bit, you know, in the doubles, but he didn't. He kept the level extremely high, and at the end of the singles match, also third set, I had a lot of chances to break him and was in his service games, but every time he needed he found the serve. Yeah, just a very good performance from them," Djokovic said of Sinner's game after their Davis Cup match.

French Open Novak Djokovic Jannik Sinner