Australian Open: Jannik Sinner hails first Grand Slam win over Daniil Medvedev as ‘very important step’ | Tennis News


Jannik Sinner described his sensational five-set comeback win over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final as a “very important step”, as the 22-year-old Italian clinched a first Grand Slam title.

Sinner came from two sets down to beat Medvedev 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 and become the first Melbourne champion for a decade not named Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer.

The world No 4, who had shown fine form late last year leading up to the first Slam of the 2024 season, dominated the tournament up to the final, his run including a thumping four-set win over holder Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“I think this season what I have done, getting to know my body better, getting to know my team better, this was a very important step for me,” Sinner said following his triumph on the Rod Laver Arena.

“Beating Novak in the semis and then today Daniil in the final, they are tough players to beat. So it’s a great moment for me and my team.

“But, in the other way, we also know that we have to improve if we want to have another chance to hold a big trophy again.

He added: “I’m extremely happy how I handled things today. The situation on court was very, very tough.

“I just tried to stay positive, trying to stick to the game plan, which I had to adjust a little bit.

“Daniil is an incredible player and he showed this again, an incredible fighter. He spent so many hours on court. I’m obviously sorry for him today, but for sure he will lift some more Grand Slam trophies.”

Sinner: I like to dance in the pressure storm

Jannik Sinner of Italy reacts at a press conference following his win over Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Sinner said he was ready for the pressure and expectation that came with being a Grand Slam champion

Sinner has been on the rise and he seemed set for success on the big stage when beating Djokovic at the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup in November, leading Italy to their second title in the latter team competition.

A Grand Slam triumph was the next step to keep pace with fellow young gun Carlos Alcaraz, who already has two, and Sinner went about his task in Melbourne efficiently, dropping only one set prior to the final – making him many people’s favourite.

Dealing with that tag is something new for the youngster, but one he relishes. “There is always pressure, but the pressure is something good. It’s a privilege, no?” he said.

“I like to dance in the pressure storm… Me, personally, I like it, because that’s where most of the time I bring out my best tennis. I’m also quite relaxed. I always try to enjoy being on the court.”

‘Tired’ Medvedev hurting after latest Grand Slam final loss

Jannik Sinner, right, of Italy is congratulated by Daniil Medvedev of Russia following the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
Sinner (right) is congratulated by Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev was philosophical about his fifth loss in six in a Grand Slam final, and second from being two sets up, rationalising that at least he had made it to the title decider and not crashed out in an earlier round.

The 27-year-old Russian had hoped it would be third time lucky on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, having lost the 2021 and 2022 finals at Melbourne Park to Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, the latter his first five-set failure.

“It’s very, very tough when you have, I don’t want to say champion, but a good mentality, a sport mentality, it’s very tough to lose in the final,” Medvedev told reporters after his defeat.

“It kind of hurts more maybe than to lose in semis or quarters. But you have to try to find positives, and the positive is, [reaching] the final is better than the semi-final and quarters.”

He added: “I’m really going to try to make everything possible with myself, with my mind, for this loss to not affect my future tournaments and future seasons.”

Medvedev had already spent more than 20 hours on court before the final thanks to his five-set wins over Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round, Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals and Alexander Zverev in the semis.

It was perhaps then no surprise then that he would tire in the fifth set of Sunday’s three-hour, 44-minute final but, unfortunately for him, Sinner, who had played four hours fewer, did not.

“I was fighting, I was running,” Medvedev said. “I was like, ‘I will try, if tomorrow I don’t feel my legs, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to try everything I can today until the last point’, and I did.

“He didn’t seem as tired as my opponents before. He started playing better. I got a little bit tired… so the momentum changed and I really tried in my mind to change it back again.

“But I didn’t manage to do it, and that’s why he’s the winner and has the trophy.”

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