Jannik Sinner: A Star for the Future

The young Italian star, Jannik Sinner, won his first ATP title in Sofia this week. We look into what makes him one of the hottest prospects on the Tour.

Jannik Sinner won the first ATP title of his young career beating  Vasek Pospisil at the 2020 Sofia Open in 3 tight sets, prevailing in the deciding set tiebreaker. The Italian also became the youngest ATP champion since Kei Nishikori in 2008. In addition to that, he is now also the first ATP champion born in 2001.

It was a much-deserved victory for the youngster who is coming off a breakthrough season and will now end the season ranked 37th in the world. 2020 also saw Sinner make his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal at the age of 19 at the French Open(joining an elite list of players, featuring, most prominently Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic).

What makes Sinner special?

For a teenager, Sinner’s game is remarkably complete. He has got a reliable serve, a solid forehand, and a strong backhand that has the potential to develop into one of the most devastating backhands in history. He hits his strokes with such impressive spin and power. According to the Infosys stats on the ATP Tour, Sinner averages 1858 rpm on his backhand which is currently the heaviest in the ATP Tour. He also averages 69.1MPH off the backhand which is in the top 5 in pace of the BH.

Most players have a generally stable double-handed backhand which is used as a rally extending shot rather than a rally finishing one. It is extremely rare for someone to have a double-handed backhand with such offensive potential. It’s quite similar to Nalbandian, Safin, and Agassi who maximized the offensive potential of their backhands. Not even Novak Djokovic, who has arguably the best double handed backhand in history, has had such offensive quality in his backhand – A reason for his struggles off late against defensive low pace counterpunchers (Daniil Medvedev).

Add to that, the Italian has a remarkable temperament on the court. This was never more obvious than in the deciding set tiebreaker in the final. In his first-ever ATP Final, Sinner played like he truly belonged to the stage and the occasion, taking the initiative in the points and was not afraid to go for his shots when possible.

What Next for Sinner?

Sinner will end this breakthrough season with a lot of momentum. In the last 2 months, he has made a Grand Slam quarterfinal and has now won an ATP title. The target should be to continue this momentum in 2021 as well. As a matter of fact, Sinner agrees with that. He said, in the presentation ceremony that he hopes to start 2021 better than 2020. 

The hottest prospect in the ATP Tour will definitely be targetting a top 15 spot next year.