"I came here with confidence. Coming from touring, I gave 100% all that I had," the No. 4 ATP player, Jannik Sinner had said after Italy's Davis Cup win. The Italian beamed with joy and satisfaction at not only helping the team be victorious but his own excellence at defeating rival, Novak Djokovic.
Sinner always had trouble winning over the strong playing Serbian and decided that his time was now to fight and play hard ball against the player who nearly always won out over him. In Malaga, Spain the indoor courts were one factor in Jannik Sinner's strategies that made the difference.
"I love to play indoors the last months of the year. I felt quite good today, not only today, but in the last month." Sinner knew that Novak always brought his 100% and has a good winning head-to-head over him. The Italian thought that things should be turned around.
Serbia actually led Italy by 1 to 0. The situation was bleak, but the Italian team knew they had to combine their skills not only as a team to play superb but also in their singles round. This is where Jannik Sinner comes in.
The young Italian knew he would have to be the master to tie the games at 1-all. It was Djokovic that he had to play against and win over. The singles match the red-headed Italian won at 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to tie the games at 1-1.
This was the first time that Novak had lost his singles round at a Davis Cup in years. He felt out of his element and hoped to make up for the loss by a win in the doubles with Miomir Kecmanovic. Sinner's confidence swirled knowing he had won over Daniil Medvedev to get the Vienna Open title.
He also defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinal of the China Open so finding and decoding the Djokovic code of play had to work eventually. When it came down to the final of Sinner teaming with Lorenzo Senego to play doubles with Serbia, Jannik knew he had to have a high quality game.
He frankly commented that "Obviously playing doubles in the decider of a Davis Cup tie is not easy. There's a lot of pressure." Rewind a few months back, Sinner faced tons of pressure from his country people for withdrawing from the Davis Cup and entering another event.
The idea of turning the chance down of playing for your country was unheard of only if you're injured. Sinner took the flack, because he felt exhausted and having a shorter event would be better. He entered the Toronto Masters and won the title over Alex deMinaur in straight sets.
Coming into this Davis Cup Sinner knew he had to win, otherwise there would be negative talk about his performances. He and his teammates played relentlessly. Sinner is the first player to defeat Novak Djokovic twice in the same season since Medvedev did in 2019.
The Italian Davis Cup defeated Serbia and it stung Djokovic really bad. "Obviously this is a tough one to swallow. I was really trying to hype myself and encourage myself for this week," he'd say. Djokovic felt the let down from not only himself putting on a winning performance in singles but also losing with his Serbian doubles partner.
Jannik Sinner was a very happy guy and content to know he had the skill to defeat Djokovic and the Serbian doubles team. He also captured 10 titles this 2023 season and most likely the odds look great for him to win more in 2024.
When the new season starts, Sinner will feel proud and certain that things may go right whenever he gets Novak Djokovic in the draw. "This is a really important win for me and I think for the whole team" the 22-year-old commented.
He gave a big grin and says on his experiences specifically at the Davis Cup, "This is something different and really special because you don't play for yourself, but you play for the whole team."