Jannik Sinner’s run to the Next Gen ATP Finals crown in Milan caught the attention of many in the tennis world, including Novak Djokovic.
Following the five-time champion’s opening win against Matteo Berrettini at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday, the Serbian took some time to reflect on the 18-year-old’s achievement.
“Congratulations to him for [winning the] Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan,” said Djokovic. “I saw that. It was a very impressive win against De Minaur, [who was also] a finalist last year and is already an experienced player even though he’s young but he’s had a great season. For Jannik to win that comfortably, it’s really impressive at home in Italy.”
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Sinner followed in the footsteps of 2017 winner Hyeon Chung and last year’s champion Stefanos Tsitsipas at the innovative 21-and-under event in Italy. Chung and Tsitsipas used their success in Milan as a springboard, with both men advancing to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in the year following their Milan victories.
“I think the Next Gen ATP Finals tournament is a great way to launch young tennis stars in the world of tennis,” said Djokovic. “He’s definitely the next star that people will look at [and] will follow.”
With personal experience of practising alongside the talented 6’2” right-hander, Djokovic also shared his positive outlook on Sinner’s character and his experienced coaching team.
“I have practised with him more than a few times [at the] Piatti Academy in the past several years,” said Djokovic. “He’s always been a very, very dedicated young man, very respectful. He’s in good hands because Riccardo is a good coach. He used to be my coach, as well. I’m sure they know what they are doing and the results are showing that.”