Sinner ‘dances in pressure storm’ to win first major

Photo: Australian Open MAJOR MOMENT … Jannik Sinner clinched the Australian Open 2024 men’s singles title in stunning fashion.

Jannik Sinner has put his calm Australian Open-winning performance down to having to “grow up fast”.

Considering he had just won his first Grand Slam title, the Italian celebrated in a no-fuss manner in front of a noisy Rod Laver Arena.

Trailing by two sets in his first major final, the 22-year-old produced a masterclass in composure as he launched an epic comeback against Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne.

“I like to dance in the pressure storm,” said Sinner, who remained serene even while he lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

Once one of Italy’s most promising young skiers, Sinner had to cook and clean for himself when he moved away from home at the age of 14 after deciding to swap the slopes for a career in tennis.

It is a decision that has worked out well for the level-headed Sinner, who barely wobbled as he converted his first Championship point to become the youngest Australian Open winner since 2008, when Novak Djokovic won his first title aged 20.

Before Sunday’s final he had dropped just one set – and that was against world number one and 10-time champion Djokovic.

“There is always pressure, but the pressure is something good. You have to take it in a good way. It’s a privilege, no?” he said.

SABALENKA OWES
SUCCESS TO FUN

Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka says her successful title defence has been helped by a fun and relaxed approach away from the court.

The world number two retained her title with a dominant 6-3 6-2 win over Zheng Qinwen in the final on Saturday.

Always a fierce opponent, Sabalenka was once notorious for angry outbursts and leaving the court in tears.

However, the 26-year-old has shown a different side to herself at this year’s tournament. “It’s enough pressure on the court, and off the court we’re just trying to keep it simple, keep it fun, and make sure that all of us enjoy the process,” Sabalenka said.

Before matches, the Belarusian has been seen joking with her coaching team and enjoying warm-up exercises which involved desperate attempts to stop balloons from hitting the ground.

Her impressive run in Melbourne has also been accompanied by a new unusual pre-match tradition – writing her signature on her fitness trainer Jason Stacy’s head.

Stacy joked that he was worried Sabalenka will take it a step further in future tournaments.

“Now they’re trying to say I’ve got to get a tattoo of this on my head. I’m like, I don’t know about that,” he said.

“People learn better and they pay more attention and they’re a bit more fresh, if they have a little bit of fun, have a bit of creativity.” –BBC

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