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Sinner says NextGen share Grand Slam belief

Jannik Sinner says the new generation of tennis stars all share a belief in their ability after he dethroned Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open on Friday.

Sinner beat the 10-time champion 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena to set up a title decider against third seed Daniil Medvedev or German sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

It means there will be a new name on the trophy this year.

Sinner, 22, and 20-year-olds Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune are spearheading a young generation aiming to unseat the old guard, still headed by Djokovic, who won three of the four majors last year.

Alcaraz already has two Grand Slams under his belt while Sinner has a chance to win his first at Melbourne Park on Sunday. 

“We are a little bit, me, Carlos, and Holger, every one of us is a different player,” he said. “I feel that also mentally everyone is different, and attitude on the court is different.

“But what I think we have in common is we believe in ourselves in one way, and this helps a lot because in tennis when you believe, it’s a huge amount already.”

The Italian said the younger players were fortunate to have 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic as a role model.

“We have to be really lucky to see him around, that we can see what he’s doing, how he’s practising,” he said. 

“Hopefully Rafa (Nadal) is coming back so I can also see him… Roger (Federer) unfortunately I have never had the chance to, but it is what it is.”

Sinner said a strong end to the 2023 season, when he had two wins against Djokovic, had given him belief he could do well in the majors but admitted he still had to prove it.

“There are people who talk a lot, but you have to show it, no? Because at the end of the day you’re going on the court and you have to play.

“But if it’s not this year, it’s next year, and then if it’s not next year, it’s the next year again, no?

“I’m really relaxed, to be honest. I just try to work as hard as possible and in my mind I feel like the hard work always pays off in one way and we are working really hard for our dreams.”

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