During the 2021 Australian Open, one bold butterfly desired a personal interaction with Naomi Osaka when it hovered around the Japanese star during her third-round match with Ons Jabeur.

At one stage, it landed on Osaka’s face, before she placed the inquisitive insect on the sidelines. Osaka would ultimately win the contest and entire tournament, and as a way pay homage in her return to Melbourne Park last week, the four-time major title holder donned a butterfly on her Nike sneakers.

In the semifinals of the 2021 event, a butterfly also visited Novak Djokovic when he took on Aslan Karatsev. The world No. 1 rolled to victory, then wrote on his Instagram, "Thank you for bringing me luck idemooo let’s gooo!" Djokovic ultimately won a record-extending ninth Australian Open against Daniil Medvedev in the final 72 hours later.

Flash forward to Monday evening and the question begs, has Jannik Sinner been anointed as the next Australian Open champion? The No. 11 seed put on a spectacular display to outclass local hopeful Alex de Minaur, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4, and his level is reason enough to corroborate the 20-year-old as a viable contender to win it all this fortnight. But that’s not the only reason why.

During his post-match interview with Jim Courier, a familiar winged creature turned up. “What have you improved besides attracting butterflies?” joked Courier.


As Sinner started to answer the question, a butterfly landed at the back of his white cap.

“It’s OK. Leave him,” said Sinner.

But as the San Candido, Italy native started discussing the ins and outs of his first full year on tour, he looked up at the screen and asked, “What’s there?”

“The butterfly’s on the back of your hat,” reminded Courier, as fans inside Rod Laver Arena chuckled.

Once again, Sinner replied, “It’s OK,” with a smile.

Courier, all but aware of the two previous encounters, assured that “it’s a good sign.” Sinner then agreed, saying it “was lucky” after he noted one had circled his leg during the match.

Sinner will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in what marks his second major quarterfinal. He and Matteo Berrettini are the first set of Italian men to reach the final eight of the same major in 49 years.