The Number Ones

Jannik Sinner: The flying fox who climbed to the very top

Italian rose to No. 1 on 10 June 2024
June 10, 2024
Jannik Sinner became the first Italian to reach No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Jannik Sinner became the first Italian to reach No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings. By Arthur Kapetanakis

In the latest profile of the 29 players to rise to No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, highlights Italy's Jannik Sinner. View All No. 1 Features

First week at No. 1: 10 June 2024
Total weeks at No. 1:

At World No. 1
Sinner will need to settle quickly into his newfound status as World No. 1. Three of the Italian's closest rivals in the PIF ATP Rankings — Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev — are all former custodians of the top spot in men’s tennis, and Sinner will know he has to push for further success if he wants to keep them at bay for long.

Grand Slam Highlights
After reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals in his 2020 Paris debut, Sinner showed his staying power with a consistent 2022 Grand Slam season. That year, he reached the quarters at three majors and the fourth round in France. Two heartbreaking defeats — five-setters against eventual champions Djokovic at Wimbledon and Alcaraz at the US Open — steeled the Italian for future success.

He reached the Wimbledon semis in 2023, again losing to Djokovic, and suffered another five-set US Open exit in the fourth round against Alexander Zverev. That disappointment set the stage for a scintillating run to close the '23 season, which Sinner carried into 2024 to win his maiden major at the Australian Open.

After dominating 10-time Melbourne champion Djokovic in the semis Down Under, the Italian battled back from two sets down against Medvedev for Grand Slam glory. He then backed up his run by reaching the Roland Garros semi-finals, a run during which his ascent to World No. 1 was guaranteed.

<a href=''>Jannik Sinner</a>
Sinner won his maiden major title at the 2024 Australian Open. Photo Credit: William West/AFP via Getty Images
Nitto ATP Finals Highlights
Sinner made his Nitto ATP Finals debut on home soil in Turin as an alternate in 2021, replacing countryman Matteo Berrettini midway through the group stage and picking up a round-robin win against Hubert Hurkacz.

Returning to Turin in 2023 in some of the best form of his life, Sinner advanced to the final with a perfect record, beating Djokovic in a third-set tie-break in the group stage and scoring a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1 result against Medvedev in the semis. While Djokovic won the pair's rematch in the final, Sinner's performance that week in front of his home fans boosted his confidence to new heights and set the stage for a dominant start to the 2024 season — a stretch that led him to rise to the top of the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time.

ATP Masters 1000 Highlights
Sinner's first ATP Masters 1000 final came in just his third main-draw appearance at that prestigious level, when he finished runner-up to Hurkacz in Miami in 2021 at the age of 19. After reaching three quarter-finals in 2022 (Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome), the Italian established himself as a consistent title challenger on the sport's biggest stages by reaching the final weekend at the first three Masters 1000s of 2023.

A second Miami final run was sandwiched between semi-final showings in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo, before Sinner's breakthrough in Toronto later that season. The Italian lost just one set on the way to what was the biggest title of his career, dominating Alex de Minaur in the final.

He made an even stronger start to the Masters 1000 calendar in 2024, putting himself in contention for World No. 1 by winning the Miami title in his third final attempt. He also returned to the semis at both Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo before making the quarters in Madrid.

Biggest Rivalries
In what has the potential to be one of the defining Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalries in tennis history, Sinner and Alcaraz have already squared off nine times in their young careers. Alcaraz currently leads 5-4 following a series of blockbuster clashes. After one meeting on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2019, the then-teenagers began lighting up the ATP Tour from 2021, when Alcaraz prevailed in straight sets in their first tour-level match at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The rivalry has since developed into a ‘must-watch’, with the two players’ desire to play fast-paced, attacking tennis contributing to some of the best displays of shotmaking the game has seen. Their 2022 US Open quarter-final, won by Alcaraz, remains one of the most gripping matches in recent memory. Sinner defeated the Spaniard in the 2022 Umag final and two semi-finals.

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>/<a href=''>Jannik Sinner</a>
Alcaraz and Sinner in action during their five-set quarter-final epic at the 2022 US Open. Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
After difficult starts to his rivalries with Djokovic and Medvedev, Sinner has caught up rapidly in his respective Lexus ATP Head2Head series with the pair. He has won three of his four past meetings with Djokovic to rally to 3-4 against the Serbian great, while he responded to six opening defeats in his rivalry with Medvedev by winning the next five, including the final of the 2024 Australian Open.

Italy is a tennis nation with great history, but Sinner's early success has lifted the sport to new heights in his home country. He is the first Italian man to reach No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, surpassing Adriano Panatta's career-high of World No. 4 in 1976. At 22 years old, Sinner owns a record for titles among Italian men with 13.

The feeling was palpable among fans watching his 2023 Nitto ATP Finals run — it was clear they were watching a bona fide homegrown star. Despite defeat to Djokovic in the championship match in Turin, Sinner responded six days later in the Davis Cup semi-finals by saving three match points to notch his second Lexus ATP Head2Head win against the Serbian. The Italian went on to lead his country to its first Davis Cup crown since 1976.

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Memorable Moment
Sinner’s stunning form across the second half of 2023, when he won 27 of his final 31 tour-level matches of the season, raised the possibility of 2024 becoming ‘the year of Sinner’. That has proven true. 

Competing at the Australian Open as the No. 4 in the PIF ATP Rankings, Sinner did not drop a set en route to the semi-finals, where he soundly defeating record-10-time champion Djokovic in four sets. Even after falling two-sets-to-love down to Medvedev in the championship match in Melbourne, there remained a steely resolve to the 22-year-old’s demeanour. He roared back for a 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory to seal his maiden major trophy and snap Italy’s 38-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion.

Alcaraz on Sinner
"Jannik obviously is a really great player with great shots. I would say we're going to have a great rivalry over the years. We are playing in the best tournaments in the world. It's not over. We are going to play a lot of great matches."

Sinner on Sinner
“I always think and believe that you live in moments. [Winning the Australian Open] was a positive and special moment. But then after you have to do it over again. You have to wake up in the morning and work again. And if you lose, you live this negative moment, but you don't live your career with this. I have maybe a little bit different point of view of how to celebrate these kinds of things.”

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