The era of Jannik Sinner has begun

And it could take a very long time.

As the sky above the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne turned a pinkish hue typical of the southern sunset, in Italy the Moka began to murmur and snort at the start of a historic Sunday for Italian sport. Jannik Sinner is a son of the Dolomites, grew up in the middle of the most beautiful mountains the world where, just a few steps from home and with their soles screeching on the fiery concrete, the girls of the white circus scurried about in the shadows of the Tofane. That's why it seemed even stranger than usual to see him soaked in sweat in a summer suit that highlighted the whiteness of his skin, which was naturally resistant to the rays of the tropics. But today, despite the disciplines that were held at the Olimpia in Cortina and at the Kandahar in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the only ones Supergiant and him.

three-six; three-six; six-four; six-four; six-three. This is what the first Italian men's title at a Grand Slam tournament sounds like after 48 years. Finally we can get rid of faded images of a time too far away, of the wooden bats and hair of Adriano Panatta, of the genius and ruthlessness of our sport, which had long demanded a succession to the throne that had become terribly inconvenient. An announced triumph, the work of a predestined player of the game, who had been showing the stigmas of a champion for some time and who until now had only been limited by a few normal mistakes of youth to his final confirmation in the elite of this sport.

But the mystique of the Slams leaves no room for banality and so Jannik's first pearl had to go through a memorable finale. Many thanks especially to Russian Daniil Medvedev, who made it to the last Sunday in January for the third time, but never managed to get past the silver plate. The big boy from Moscow is a great interpreter of one exuberant but terribly conscious tennis, which moves between its synapses at a speed that perhaps no one on the track on the field can keep up with. Even if Novak Djokovic himself couldn't find a suitable tactic to contain the South Tyrolean, he even let his frustration show in Dante's language “I don’t know what I’ve done and what I have to do, damn it»; Daniil Medvedev, on the other hand, seemed to be immediately aware of this.

“He looks like a chess player. We knew he would be aggressive, but we didn't expect this level for two sets.

Darren Cahill, coach of Jannik Sinner

He used his increased experience to sprint out of the starting blocks, leaving Sinner dazed to familiarize himself with the first Grand Slam final of his career. He played irresistible tennis for an hour and a half He offered flat shots with deep bouncing balls that required a lot of effort from Sinner's lower joints to stay in the exchange, but above all he couldn't find the right rhythm to hit with the usual depth and effectiveness. The perspectives opened by the Russian come from his best essay on goniometry and are always based on those awkward movements that are so unique but which we have learned over the years to be terribly effective. His tennis is heavily inspired by another eraHis very intellectual game does not offer many rotational variations, but he never lets two identical balls hit, it forces you to stay active on your feet, always finding a new angle and a new script.

It's hard to say which game we would have commented on if Daniil Medvedev hadn't been Daniil Medvedev. The good and the bad about a player like him, who can hardly complain about a flawless final for long stretches, but who has a lot to regret about the marathons he endured during the tournament. The useless hours he spent on the court getting rid of the mediocre Atmane, Ruusuvuori and Borges, as well as the very complicated matches that dragged on until the fifth set against Hurkacz and Zverev, were a very heavy burden for him. Spent a total of 20 hours and 40 minutes (!) in the fieldwho rightly went down in history by making him the player with the most hours in his legs to reach a Slam final.

A circumstance that, as we knew, would play a crucial role in a possible longer game. To quote Medvedev himself: “Yesterday at training I said to myself: Damn, how I will play the final, how I will move. We worked hard, especially with my physical therapist. He did a great job making sure I was ready every time I stepped on the field. During the game it was the same every time, after two sets my energy level dropped because I didn't sleep perfectly. Finally, the approval:

“So, let’s just say it is like this my mistake because I had to win easier games, but sometimes it’s hard.”

Daniil Medvedev

The fact is that Sinner was a privileged spectator in the first two sets on Sunday at Melbourne Park. His sparkling tennis remained in the bag, and the serve that had sustained him for much of the tournament registered decidedly inadequate averages for nearly two hours. But this is where Sinner built his masterpiece. On an atypical day compared to the course of the tournament, he had the ability to take his opponent's blows without getting too upset, accepting the idea of ​​not being able to run with his head but having to patiently wait for the right moment for a comeback. Jannik clung to the match with all his might, not so much physically as mentally. After losing the first two sets, many could have collapsed in the first Slam final, aware of the task they had to overcome to turn the game around.

Instead, Sinner accepted the pace set by Medvedev and had the clarity to cynically convert the only break point granted in the entire set: the decisive one for the third set as well. From then on, the consciousness of the South Tyroleans grew, and little by little the flame of the Russians went out. Medvedev's steps in defense became heavier, his ball search became less precise, as did his shots. The trajectories began to climb and Jannik suddenly found the timing with which he destroyed everyone in the last three months. Some long arm wrestling from the baseline that ended with over 30 throws inevitably highlighted how sluggish the game was. And once again, as in the previous set, Sinner managed to convert the decisive break on the first useful ball and thus win the set.

From a sporting perspective, the fifth act was a formality. Jannik took advantage of the opportunities that the Russian offered on his serve and was icy in his movements, so that Medvedev only had one break chance in the last three sets (seventh game of the fourth set). «I tried to extend the game: knowing that he had spent so many more hours on the court than me, it was likely that I was a little better physically. I think that was the key to the game».

Gradually it became clear in Medvedev's eyes how the game was slipping out of his hands: out of his head and out of his increasingly tired legs. Be Looks have become empty, liquid. The awareness of being helpless in the face of the turn of events reminded him strongly of the dramatic final he lost to Rafael Nadal at the Rod Laver Arena in 2022. There the dominance was, if possible, even more evident in the first two partials, but in the end fate was just as cruel. Then considering that Medvedev has only lost in the fifth set three times in his career after winning the opening sets, and that happened twice in the Australian Open final, This well describes the curse of Russian verse in the tournamentNaturally Happy slam.

What happened before Sinner's eyes is honestly difficult to decipher, partly because he didn't do much to make us understand. The usual supine jump onto the concrete at the game ball, a routine climb to hug the team in their corner, then little else. Not a primal manifestation of joy, no tears, no screams, no facial contact with joy. What is certain is that the reaction in many Italian living rooms was much more mixed, but perhaps that is exactly the reason why Jannik brought a Grand Slam trophy back to Italy with him. Furthermore, only great awareness, coupled with a good dose of pragmatism, makes it possible to excel in this illogical and completely unpredictable sport.

The same clarity that he showed off the pitch, the results of which can now be viewed as successful. As a sinner broke Her youthful bond with Riccardo Piatti caused many scandals and gave rise to pointless arguments such as gratitude or respect. Jannik restarted from Vagnozzi and Darren Cahill, a feat that produced Lleyton Hewitt, made Agassi the oldest No. 1 in history and propelled Simona Halep to the top of the WTA rankings. Under the leadership of the new team, he improved technically and tactically, demonstrating to everyone that the boy has very clear goals and knows how to achieve them. Likewise, he managed to indifferently dribble aside the criticism of some missed calls while wearing the blue jersey, giving us the second Davis in history.

«Italian tennis is in good hands. Jannik Sinner beat the best and won his first Slam. With his versatile game and youth, he is destined to achieve many more victories.

Rod Laver

Like Alberto Tomba before him, Jannik Sinner is successful in skiingthe feat of getting all Italians excited about a game what until recently was considered just middle-class entertainment; And it makes you smile when you think that an Emilian brought the Bel Paese to skiing and that now a South Tyrolean brings it to the tennis court. However, unlike Albertone, Jannik does not have Tomba's typical Italian temperament, arrogant jokes and unique way of addressing himself in the third person singular. Sinner is simply a winner, a conscious champion. And perhaps the reason we didn't see him collapse in Melbourne with that glittering cup in hand is because he's already looking elsewhere.

“With Simone [Vagnozzi ndr]which we already talked about after the game how much there is still to improve. Of course it’s a wonderful feeling to win this trophy.”

Jannik Sinner

He knows it's the first trophy of this weight, but he definitely doesn't want it to be the last. There are still around 1,500 points until the first world ranking, and the Masters 1000 on American hard courts is a great opportunity to shorten the gap. In short, Sinner is aimed at the pinnacles of the sportand strives to fill the gap Big 3 who have now entered Sunset Avenue: some have already quit (Roger), some almost (Rafa), some have reached the end of their careers (Nole). The semi-final win over Djokovic – the true masterpiece of the South Tyrolean tournament – was another sign of succession to come, and now it's up to him to take the crown. At 22 years old, he is probably already the strongest Italian tennis player of all time. But Jannik, we are sure, cares very little about it. In Maiora.

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