Interview: Sinner revels in rivalry with Alcaraz

World No.8 belives the Spaniard is 'the most all-rounded player'

Jannick Sinner, Practice, Roland-Garros 2023© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Alex Sharp

When these two meet it's pure tennis theatre. 

Carlos Alcaraz versus Jannik Sinner has developed into a simmering rivalry that has already dazzled the tennis world.

Take the US Open 2022. The rallies and hot shots were popping as world No.1 Alcaraz prevailed at 2.50am after five hours, 15 minutes of absorbing action under the lights.

Over to Miami in March, where Sinner served up some 'Sinn-sational' points in their 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 semi-final tussle to tie their head-to-head at 3-3.



Players frequently pitch in on social media, blown away by the standard reached by this top-10 duo.

The Italian, who opens against world No.100 Alexandre Muller on Monday, has high praise for Alcaraz.

"I think at the moment he is the most all-rounded player. He knows how to do everything on the court, you can't really damage him like a lot of players, maybe they have a worse backhand than a forehand," told

Jannick Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, US Open 2022© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

"He is 100 per cent on every single shot. I feel like I am also, but there are certain things I can do a lot better. We are serving a lot, trying to build that up, to improve it.

"I'm just trying to have many matches like this, important matches at important stages, that's what I work for, why I put the hard work in.

"I think we both play similar tennis. This is why there are some really good rallies. We are hard-workers and he's making his own way, I'm making mine."



It’s a rivalry we'd all welcome in the latter stages of tournaments for many years to come, perhaps a Roland-Garros final?

"I would be very happy if we had this rivalry for 10, 15 years, but there are other players also," said the Italian.

"For example Holger [Rune] is playing great tennis, I feel Lorenzo Musetti is going to be a very great player.

"You never know, but I consider myself one of the best young players. Let's see."

Building on success

Rewind to Roland-Garros 2020 and Sinner soared into his first Grand Slam quarter-final. Since that "special" fortnight, the 21-year-old has completed the set of reaching all four major quarter-finals but is yet to go further. 

The Italian, affectionately known as 'The Fox,' is primed for the next step.

"Every player is different, but for me I think experience counts for a lot," the world No.8 said.

"This year is already better than last season. I was making a lot of round of 16 or quarters, this year I'm getting into semis and finals.

"We are making step after step. I'm stepping up every opportunity I have, I'm giving my all, my best and physically I'm more prepared than last season. Mentally my mindset is a little different, more aggressive.

"I'm not afraid of nobody, because I have a great potential, I have the tennis, so it's a question of time."

All-round threat

Sinner's all-court capabilities have launched him into the title contender bracket at all the majors; moving from a Miami Open final on hard courts swiftly onto a semi-final venture on the coastal clay courts at the Monte-Carlo Masters emphasises his adaptability.  

"I think that I've proven I can play good tennis on all the surfaces. For sure there are surfaces and places around the world that you feel better than others, but you have to adjust," Sinner said.

"The game style is more or less the same. I am an aggressive player, when I have the ball I try to hit and damage my opponent. I think the adjustment this year was pretty good."

Simone Vagnozzi, Jannik Sinner, Prractice, Roland-Garros 2023© Julien Crosnier/FFT

More to come

The 21-year-old has already compiled a head-turning 28-7 record this season. Whilst some of his rivals such as Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev dominate the headlines, Sinner is happy to fly under the radar.

"I started this season very well. I lost in five sets to Stefanos [Tsitsipas] in Australia, but immediately after [I was] still playing good with a title, final and semi-final twice in the Masters series. So I'm improving a lot," he said. The Italian is ranked fifth in the 2023 Race to Turin.

"Our first goal for the season is to qualify for the ATP Finals, obviously I try win big titles, but I think I still have a lot of space to improve," he explained.

"We are working very hard physically, trying to give me the go every week, because I feel I have the potential to go deep every week."