With his slalom-style movement, exquisite timing, and beautiful two-handed backhand, many people have compared Jannik Sinner to Novak Djokovic, and it’s easy to see why. Both players may have begun their athletic careers on a ski-slope, but they were put on this earth to hit a tennis ball.
On Wednesday, we’ll see just how apt the comparisons are, as the Italian teenager takes on the world No. 1 in a blockbuster second-round match-up in Monte Carlo. The Serbian is obviously favored to win, and is listed as a -287 favorite and projected to win by 3.5 games according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Sinner is surely excited to test his game against the world’s best player, while Djokovic will hope to teach him a few lessons.
“He’s got all the goods that he needs in order to become a champion,” Djokovic said of Sinner earlier this week. “He has been very impressive, it seems he’s not satisfied with what he has achieved so far. He wants to do more, which is great to see there’s the hunger in him."
Sinner can trade groundstrokes with anyone, and if he comes out firing, could potentially steal an early break or maybe even a set. But in the end, expect Djokovic’s unparalleled return of serve to take the wind out of the Italian’s sails.
Sinner inflicts damage from everywhere, but his crosscourt backhand and inside-out forehand are certainly two of the game’s better shots.
But unfortunately for Sinner, few can defend their backhand wing as well as Djokovic.
Though he is ranked No. 22 in the world, Sinner ranks 50th in percentage of service games won, while Djokovic ranks 3rd in terms of return games won. This will likely prove to be the difference maker, but betting and predictions aside, tennis fans should enjoy this cross-generational match-up between the world’s best player, and the world’s best teenager.
The Pick: Novak Djokovic