Former Bjorn Borg rival says Novak Djokovic fears one player

(Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Adriano Panatta may have very little else to do currently than comment on the state of tennis. He likely earned that right by winning the French Open in 1976 (beating Bjorn Borg along the way) and nine other titles on the ATP tour and he did reach a career-high of No. 4 in 1976, but he is correct about all his views on modern tennis, especially one where he believes Novak Djokovic will fear a certain player in 2024? Unlikely.

Plus the player that Panatta says Novak Djokovic will be afraid of is one Panatta recently had to completely change his tone on. The player in question is Jannik Sinner, Panatta’s countryman, who recently defeated Djokovic in the span of two weeks (and lost to Djokovic during that time as well). Panatta called Sinner out for not playing for Italy in the group stages of the Davis Cup as Sinner was instead playing in the Asian swing of the ATP tour.

But since Jannik Sinner helped Italy win the Davis Cup, and defeated Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semifinals, Panatta now thinks Sinner is perfectly fine. Panatta implied Sinner was being self-serving in playing in the Bejing Open, for instance, instead of the Davis Cup but Panatta is likely just being self-serving as he now realizes how beloved Sinner is in Italy after being the main reason Italy won the Davis Cup.

Former Grand Slam champion says Novak Djokovic fears one young player

But does Novak Djokovic “fear” Sinner now? That seems like a stretch as even though Sinner has had recent success against the Serb, Djokovic still leads the all-time head-to-head between the two players 4-2. Oh, and there is the bit about Djokovic having 24 Grand Slams and Sinner not having any yet.

But Panatta told Corriere dello Sport recently, “He is an example, he is a millimeter from Djokovic, they play on equal terms. Saving three match points is a feat within a feat. Next time, Jannik will start with an advantage. Nole fears him.”

Some of that is true as saving three matches against Novak Djokovic had never happened to Djokovic before coupled with the other player coming back to win. But Djokovic fearing a player will likely take a lot more than just losing a couple of matches to the other player. Once again, Panatta is likely just speaking out of hand because he knows people are listening.

Next. ATP has a clear No. 2 and that is not Carlos Alcaraz. dark