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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, March 10, 2024

The tennis court is a peaceful place compared to the scary slopes Jannik Sinner once faced.

These days, Sinner evokes fear factor in opponents.

More: Grigor Dimitrov on Pure Beauty

The Australian Open champion swept Jan-Lennard Struff scoring his 17th straight win to speed into the Indian Wells fourth round for the fourth time.

The 22-year-old Italian brings his best against the best: Sinner is 10-1 vs. Top 5 opponents in his last 11 matches and has captured four titles in his last seven tournament starts.

So what’s the essential element to Sinner’s success?


Asked afterward what he considers his most important quality, Sinner said it’s being bold at crunch time.

Straddling the baseline and hitting daring drives on pivotal points has separated Sinner, who is 14-0 in 2024, from the ATP pack.

“I have a lot of respect for all of players but I don't have fear to face them,” Sinner told the media in Indian Wells. “I think that's also a quality, because especially when you play the pressure points and important points, you know, I still like to go for the shots. I don't wait to see what my opponent does most of the time. So if I have to choose one quality, it's this one.”

In Melbourne, Sinner scaled a major mountain dethroning defending champion Novak Djokovic without facing a break point before rallying from two-sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final.

As a kid, Sinner was committed to going downhill fast as a champion junior skier.

Ultimately, Sinner chose tennis over skiing because it provided an opportunity to do damage on court rather than to his body.

One reason Sinner is so fearless on court, he knows there’s really nothing to fear.

“I realized it when I skied that I had fear to go, you know, the downhill races. When you go very fast and then you jump 20, 30 meters, you know, it's different,” Sinner said. “Then I had this fear. And then in my mind in tennis, it's nothing to be scared about, no?

“It's only a match at the end of the day. We try our best, and sometimes it goes in a good way in important moments and sometimes not. But at the end, you just lose the match.”

As his undefeated start to the season shows: A fearless Sinner is a scary presence for the rest of the Tour.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty