Jannik Sinner might not be happy that the 2023 tennis season is ending. No player, not even Novak Djokovic, is finishing on a higher note than Sinner. Sure, he lost to Djokovic in the ATP Finals final, but he also defeated Djokovic earlier in the round-robin stage. Then Jannik Sinner defeated Djokovic again in the Davis Cup to help lead Italy to eventually win the event.
Sinner did not participate for Italy during the group stages of the Davis Cup, however. He instead needed a bit of time off before playing in the Asian swing of the ATP tour late in 2023. That swing ended up being a good one for Jannik Sinner overall. He defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Beijing Open in early October.
One should be able to excuse Sinner for not playing for Italy during September and October. While playing for one’s country is important and can be special, professional tennis players also play the sport for their living and if there are Masters 1000 tournaments to be played, for instance, then the player should play in those tourneys. Plus, Italy should not have needed Sinner to advance, and, in fact, they advanced without him.
Adriano Panatta needs to keep Jannik Sinner’s name out of his mouth
But former French Open champion (way back in the dark ages of 1976) Adriano Panatta appears to have nothing better to do than to complain about current players whom he likely would not have beaten the majority of the time had they played in his era. Panatta said of Jannik Sinner when Sinner chose to play the Beijing Open, “Today, tennis players are businesses and, as such, they only think about profit, especially those around them, forgetting history and feelings.”
Mind you, this comment was made about someone who is only 22 years old and is still just beginning their career. Passing up well-paying and huge point-earning tournaments for Davis Cup qualifying is simply illogical. If a player had accomplished quite a bit in their career and was into their 30s, maybe the decision whether to play a tournament or the Davis Cup would be a bigger question. The decision would still be up to the individual player, however.
In the end, though, Jannik Sinner made Panatta look ridiculous as not only did Sinner play in the Davis Cup Finals, but he was the singular reason Italy won the event. Against Serbia, down a match and having to defeat Novak Djokovic to advance to the final – a head-to-head that Sinner called the “match of my life“, Jannik Sinner was able to defeat the top-ranked Serb, and then Sinner defeated Djokovic in the deciding doubles match.
Sinner went undefeated from the quarterfinals through the final and he won the clinching match against Australia in the final. Without Jannik Sinner, Italy likely doesn’t win the Davis Cup in 2023. Maybe Panatta can just stop implying Sinner doesn’t love his country and instead be thankful that Sinner is likely the best Italian player in many decades, potentially ever.