Novak Djokovic

‘Human backboard’ Novak Djokovic favourite in Jannik Sinner clash – legend

Jannik Sinner is in his best ever position to beat Novak Djokovic at a major, according to John McEnroe, although he is not expecting anyone to get the best of the Serbian.

Sinner will face Djokovic in Melbourne in the latest instalment of a growing rivalry that really came to life at the back end of last season.

They played three times in a short space of time, with each getting a win over each other at the ATP Finals (although Djokovic’s came in the final) and Sinner coming out on top in the Davis Cup finals.

For many, that is clear evidence that Sinner is capable of beating Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where he has been next to invincible, but McEnroe is not so sure.

Speaking to Eurosport, McEnroe said: “Novak is playing incredible tennis.

“The key for anyone to beat him, including Sinner, is do they deep down in the heart of hearts have the belief that they can beat Novak?

“This is a mental game when you’re out there on your own. This is a physical game, yes, and you have your coach on the side lines, but this is about believing and executing your game plan and thinking you can beat that one person on the other side of the court.

“That is one very tough thing as Novak Djokovic is like a human backboard and knows how to manage himself when necessary, knows how to pace himself.

“He’s got everything. He’s got every trick in the book. And he’s got no weaknesses. It’s an incredible tall order to beat him in a best of five sets match.

“I think Sinner is in the best position ever to do it. Obviously he’s worked hard on improving other aspects of his game: Putting more on his serve, bringing his back foot up a little bit and getting more pop off it, trying to be a little bit more unpredictable which he’ll need to do.

“He goes big off the ground and he will need to be willing to come to the net on some tight points. It will be interesting to see if he’s ready to do that yet.”

You can watch the Australian Open live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

READ NEXT: How to watch the 2024 Australian Open for free on live stream

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.