"Jannik Sinner is the guy" - Serena Williams' former coach picks 'Italian stallion' as the player who could beat Novak Djokovic at Australian Open

Anirudh
Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner could meet in the semifinals of the 2024 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner could meet in the semifinals of the 2024 Australian Open.

Renowned tennis coach Rick Macci has picked Jannik Sinner as the player who could beat Novak Djokovic at the 2024 Australian Open.

Djokovic has won a record 10 titles at the Melbourne Major and is the defending champion at the tournament this year. He has also been in dominant form for over a year, winning three Grand Slams and finishing as the runner-up in the fourth.

While the Serbian is considered the favorite to clinch his 11th title Down Under, Macci believes that Sinner is the player who can prevent Djokovic from reaching the final this year.

Macci, who has previously coached the likes of Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams, also named Carlos Alcaraz as the other player who can potentially beat Djokovic. The Spaniard, however, is in a different half of the draw in Melbourne and can meet the World No. 1 in the title clash only.

"Well, you can lose anybody anytime but it's probably going to be Alcaraz or Sinner. Jannik Sinner, the Italian stallion, he's in his draw so they could meet in the semis. Alcaraz, he's on the other half. So Sinner is the guy because he's beaten him before. And if you've been there done that, that gives you a lot of confidence," he told NBC.

While Djokovic leads Sinner 4-2 in the head-to-head, they split their four meetings last year. The former emerged victorious in the Wimbledon semifinals and the ATP Finals, while the latter clinched victory in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals and a decisive Davis Cup doubles rubber in Malaga.

Additionally, Sinner teamed up with Lorenzo Sonego and beat the pair of Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic in a Davis Cup doubles tie.


Rick Macci: "Novak Djokovic is the billion-dollar tennis player, he is the epitome of mental strength"

Novak Djokovic in action at the 2024 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic in action at the 2024 Australian Open.

Rick Macci also heaped praise on Novak Djokovic for his sportsmanship following his opening-round win against teenager Dino Prizmic at the 2024 Australian Open. The Serbian ensured the 18-year-old Croatian got a standing ovation from the Melbourne crowd for his efforts.

"He's the ultimate sportsman. I love how he complimented the 18-year-old. It's a first Grand Slam [for Prizmic], it's a little tricky but at the end of the day, Djokovic got the W," he said.

The American coach recalled Djokovic's achievements and stated that he is the player to beat in Grand Slams, as he does well in best of five-setters.

"You got to remember, if we backed the truck up, this guy has 24 Grand Slams, 10 Australian, seven Wimbledon, four US Open, three French and 98 singles titles. And he's been number one. 407 weeks in 13 years, 83 winning percentage. So he is the guy to beat," he expressed.
"Once he gets into these tournaments, three out of five, that's definitely his calling, he is the billion-dollar tennis player, he is the epitome of mental strength," he added.

Djokovic is set to face Alexei Popyrin in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, January 17.

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