1976 French Open champion Adriano Panatta thinks Novak Djokovic may be pushed toward retirement if he loses to Jannik Sinner a couple of more times in 2024. Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world, lost to Sinner twice in as many weeks in November.
In the group stage at the ATP Finals, Sinner beat Djokovic 7-5 6-7 (5) 7-6 (2). Sinner then suffered a 3-6 3-6 loss to Djokovic in the Turin final but beat the Serb again 6-2 2-6 7-5 during the Davis Cup Final 8 event in Malaga.
"If Sinner were to defeat Djokovic two or three more times in 2024, he would turn into the Belgrade champion's nightmare, pushing him towards retirement," Panatta told Rai Italia.
Panatta thinks Sinner may push Djokovic closer to retirement
In the Davis Cup semifinal, Serbia had a 1-0 lead over Italy and Djokovic had a chance to seal a final ticket for Serbia by beating Sinner.
But Sinner stunningly saved Djokovic's three consecutive match points in the third set en route to completing a win over the Serb. Then with Lorenzo Sonego, Sinner also beat Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic in the deciding doubles match. "Match of my life, I don't know, but it's for sure very, very important.
You know, as I say, it helps a lot the last competition that it's a team competition, because you get a lot of energy from your teammates, from the whole team, and then the crowd is different," Sinner said after beating Djokovic in Malaga.
For the first time since Nick Kyrgios in 2017, someone managed to beat Djokovic twice in two weeks. "It means a lot. Obviously before the match we were talking that it was a really important test today, you know, trying to understand what to expect before the match.
Then I think we made a good tactical moment also before the match, and then obviously playing it is a little bit different but I think I have to be really proud about how I handled the situation," Sinner said.