Mats Wilander impressed by Jannik Sinner: "Never seen anything like it"

The former Australian champion revealed how difficult it is to see tennis like the one shown by the Italian at such a young age

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Mats Wilander impressed by Jannik Sinner: "Never seen anything like it"
© Daniel Pockett / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Jannik Sinner got the rewards of his hard work, capping off a fantastic six months with the title at the Australian Open 2024. The calmness shown by the 22-year-old Italian, who did not panic, took advantage of the Russian's moment of decline, and began his incredible comeback, impressed many of his colleagues and former tennis legends.

The former tennis player - and now commentator for Eurosport - Mats Wilander also talkede about it, and was impressed by Jannik's progress.

"There are many things that struck me about Jannik Sinner's success, but what I remember most of all is that he never panicked. That's very impressive for a young player who was playing in his first Grand Slam final and quickly found himself two sets to nil down. I don't think I've ever seen such a feat from a 22-year-old. Maximum respect," he declared in an interview with Equipe.

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Rod Laver was also impressed by the young Italian's tennis.

"Sinner has grown a lot in the last year and I am sure that thanks to his complete game and his young age he will be able to aim for many great goals. He has great strength, technique, precision. He continues according to his plans without haste and this will allow him to stay at high levels in the ranking for a long time. For being so young he already has a very complete playing baggage and will only improve given his great desire to grow.

This victory is part of the growth journey. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best. And I think that by once again overcoming Nole Djokovic who hadn't lost for many years here in Australia, Sinner began to believe more and more in his potential. This gave him a decisive push for the final too," analyzed Laver.

Jannik inside tennis history

No Italian tennis player had ever been able to lift the prestigious Australian Open trophy. 48 years ago, however, there was the last slam success of an Italian, when Adriano Panatta won the 1976 Roland Garros. A milestone previously achieved only by another Italian, Nicola Pietrangeli, who was able to win the Roland Garros in 1959 and 1960.

Obviously we are talking about men's singles. If we extend the horizon to girls too, Francesca Schiavone triumphed at the Roland Garros 2010, while Flavia Pennetta won the unforgettable all-Italian final at the US Open 2015, beating her countrywoman Roberta Vinci. Vinci, in that edition, defeated Serena Williams in the semi-final in front of her crowd, preventing the legendary American from completing the Grand Slam.

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Sinner's success was surprising to many (but obviously not to us at Tennis World USA, who have been chronicling his progress for years now). Few would have expected - despite the exploits of the last few tournaments - that Sinner was already so incredibly competitive in the Slams. Only three sets lost throughout the tournament. One against Novak Djokovic in the semi-final and two against Daniil Medvedev in the horror start of the match.

Meanwhile, Sinner has announced that he will not play next week at the ATP 250 tournament in Marseille. The Italian, in mutual agreement with his team, has wisely chosen to recover energy, take a few more days of rest also to train on indoor hard courts and prepare for the next appointment which will be in Rotterdam, from 12 February.

The organizers of the Marseille tournament did not take Jannik's decision to skip their tournament well and, in fact, a rather controversial message towards the 22-year-old appeared on social media. After about half an hour, the post was deleted, replaced by another that used less sharp words.

Several fans did not take kindly to the treatment given to the new Australian Open champion by the organizers of the Marseille tournament. Sinner found himself quite forced to give up the competition to fully recover from two very intense weeks of tennis in Australia. The official apology from the tournament also arrived with this message, probably published with the aim of calming the waters: "Indeed the word is strong: we will change. In Marseille we tend to get fired up."

According to the French media, and as confirmed by the post on social media, CEO Jean-Francois Caujolle is in contact with top 10 Alexander Zverev to make up for the absence of Jannik Sinner with another top athlete. The presence of Matteo Berrettini now seems certain, who should obtain one of the three wild cards and therefore return to the field after the injury at the 2023 US Open.

Mats Wilander Jannik Sinner