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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jannik Sinner has reached the top of the line, but insists he's inspired by improvement rather than rising to a historic first.

Australian Open champion Sinner is top seed in Madrid for the first time, leads the ATP with a 25-2 record and is No. 1 in the ATP Race to Turin.

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Then there are his peers, like world No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz, who declare the 22-year-old Italian is already the best in the world. 

"He's the best player in the world right now," Alcaraz told the media in Madrid. "I think [some] think his tennis doesn't suit well to the clay, but he's had results on clay as well.

"He can win every tournament he goes to, and obviously I'm fighting with him and Novak to be number one. I'm trying to stay there, but honestly it's going to be difficult."

Though he trails world No. 1 Novak Djokovic by just 1,330 ranking points, Sinner says he's driven by making progress rather than reaching the pinnacle of the sport.


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Sinner says he doesn't see himself on Djokovic or Alcaraz's level yet because they have achieved more on bigger stages. 

"I think it’s a tough question to answer," Sinner said when asked if he's the best. "We always see only this moment and I think that sometimes it’s good but also not good.

“I still believe that you cannot compare myself with Novak with all that he has done. And the same goes for Carlos. Also Carlos won more than me.

"I have a lot of respect for both of them. I just try to play my game, trying to understand what works best for me and then we see what I can achieve.”

The top-seeded Sinner will face either Davis Cup doubles partner Lorenzo Sonego or Richard Gasquet in his Madrid opener.

Photo credit: Matteo Villalba/Getty