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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 1, 2024

Dominating the sport for the first three months of the 2024 season is not enough, says Darren Cahill, the man they call the “papa” of Jannik Sinner’s coaching team.

The Aussie spoke to reporters after Sinner completed his run to the Miami title on Sunday and said that his charge still has plenty of work to do to become the player he believes he can be.

Tennis Express

“From where he is at the moment, right now he's playing his hand,” Cahill, who also coached former legends Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, as well as Simona Halep. “You can't sugar-coat it. He's playing great, and his level today was fantastic. But he can get better.”

Hard to imagine that Sinner, who is 22-1 on the season with his maiden Grand Slam title, can be better but this is the vision that the Italian’s team has laid out.

“As evolution goes along and you get a little bit older and stronger and faster and get a bit smarter, all those things are going to start to come into his game,” Cahill said, adding that he is eyeing many improvements as the team works to focus on process rather than milestones in the weeks and months to come.

“We have been working on improving his serve, improving his transition game, improving his slice backhand to use it as a changeup shot, improving his direction on his forehand, return of serve. You can go through everybody's game,” Cahill said.

Sinner hopes to take a page from Novak Djokovic’s playbook. The 24-time major champion has always sought to make changes to his game, even after spending hundreds of weeks at No.1 and racking up a record number of Grand Slam and Masters titles.

‘It's the great thing about Novak as well,” Cahill said. “Novak at 36 years of age is still looking for improvement in his game, and we know that he's going to make adjustments. We know that Medvedev will make adjustments. We know that changes will be made. Carlos continues to look for improvements in his serve. It's just normal.”

Cahill said that he witnessed the same quality in Agassi, whom he worked with in the later stages of the career.

“I had a chance to work with Agassi when he was 32 years of age,” he said. “The moment I stepped on the court with Andre, it was all business and he wanted to become better as a tennis player at 32, better than he was at 22. “This generation is privileged to have seen the previous generations push for improvements no matter how old you are.

“That's what Jannik will do. So yes, he can get better for sure. But we've got to give credit where credit is due. He's playing terrific tennis at the moment.”

The Italian is up to No.2 in the world in this week’s ATP rankings for the first time, and will set his sights on making a splash on the clay, a surface that has been challenging to him in the past.

Sinner has a 68.3 career winning percentage on clay with one title, compared to a career 77 percent winning percentage on hard court with 12 titles. 14 of his 15 Top 5 wins have come on hard courts, but he has not faced a Top-5 player on clay since the summer of 2022.

Improving the results on clay is a challenge that Sinner is looking forward to.

“For sure, the main goal is Roland Garros, yes, but trying to work slowly into this tournament and trying to play it in the best possible way. Before I have Rome, for me, especially is a really, really important tournament. You know, playing with the home crowd, it's always amazing,” Sinner said, adding that he hopes his improved physical status will help him achieve more on the clay in 2024.

“I'm very relaxed. Look, I have the feeling that I have learned many things from last year, what I can do better. Physically I'm in a different shape than I was last year.”