Home Favorite Sinner Records His First Win Over Top-Ranked Djokovic at ATP Finals 

Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 15, 2023 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his group stage match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. (Reuters)
Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 15, 2023 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his group stage match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. (Reuters)
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Home Favorite Sinner Records His First Win Over Top-Ranked Djokovic at ATP Finals 

Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 15, 2023 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his group stage match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. (Reuters)
Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 15, 2023 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his group stage match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. (Reuters)

Jannik Sinner recorded his first win over top-ranked Novak Djokovic, delighting a raucous home crowd at the ATP Finals.

Sinner triumphed 7-5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2) in a match spanning more than three hours on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

It was the 22-year-old Sinner’s first win in their four head-to-head meetings. It also ended Djokovic's 19-match winning streak that stretched back to his five-set loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

“It means a lot to me,” Sinner said. “When you win against the World No. 1, who has won 24 Grand Slams, it’s obviously in the top," of career results.

Sinner sealed the result with a smash at the net to send the Turin arena into a frenzy.

“There doesn’t exist a better place to beat the World No. 1. After Wimbledon I said I felt a bit closer but I didn’t even win a set," Sinner said on his on-court interview, which was interrupted by the crowd serenading him with “Olé, Olé, Olé Olé, Sin-ner, Sin-ner."

“Here I managed to play the most important points in the best way. There was a bit of tension when I lost the second set, it was very hard, but together with you (the crowd) we won together.”

The umpire had to tell the fans to be quiet several times during the match as they fervently cheered the Italian player on and also booed Djokovic several times.

The 36-year-old Djokovic, who normally enjoys huge support in Italy, lapped up the boos and even encouraged the fans to up their hostility toward him.

“I think the main difference is that in the important points, he was going for it, he was more courageous,” Djokovic said. “He deserved to win because in important moments I wasn’t aggressive enough, I wasn’t decisive enough.

“You have to just congratulate him. He just played a fantastic match. That’s what I told him at the net. I think in the most important moments, he played his best game and he absolutely deserved to win.”

Sinner, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday’s opener, is now on the verge of reaching Saturday’s semifinals. He next plays Holger Rune, who has one win after Tsitsipas retired early in their green group match and withdrew from the tournament.

Djokovic, who is bidding to break a tie with Federer and capture a record seventh title at the tour finals, will play first alternate Hubert Hurkacz.

Sinner didn't make it out of the group stage in his only other appearance at the ATP Finals, as an alternate in 2021.

But the crowd sensed a huge win was on the cards when Sinner won nine straight points to finish the first set — rallying from 40-0 down to break Djokovic's serve and then holding to love.

Sinner also broke again in the third to lead 4-2 but Djokovic immediately managed to get his only service break in a match that mainly went with serve and saw 35 aces.

Sinner is finishing up a year in which he has claimed four titles, including his first Masters 1000 trophy, and moved to a career-high No. 4 — the first Italian that high since Adriano Panatta nearly a half-century ago.

Tsitsipas withdraws

Tsitsipas withdrew with a back injury after playing only three games of his second match in Turin.

Tsitsipas, the 2019 champion, was trailing 2-1 in the opening set when he had a lengthy conversation with his trainer before slowly getting to his feet, shaking his head and walking over to shake Rune’s hand.

That was after only 17 minutes of play and led to boos from the crowd in Turin, which instead had to settle for an exhibition match between alternates Taylor Fritz and Hurkacz.

“My apologies to all the fans and the crowd that came to support me today and watch the match. I’m really gutted that I wasn’t able to finish the match,” Tsitsipas said. “My doctors and the countless visits that I had in the last few days suggested that I play, they gave me the green light to go and try.

“Unfortunately I felt terrible on the court ... I hate retiring from matches, I'm not that kind of person that likes leaving mid-match and it kills me not to be able to finish this tournament, the one that I’ve prepped for for so long, made sure that I’m completely fit to perform at my best and show my capacities as a player.”

Tsitsipas had cut short a practice session on Friday because of an apparent physical issue but the Greek player said he was “absolutely fine.”

Tsitsipas also withdrew from the tournament in 2021 after losing his opening match.

“It definitely hurts me a lot because this is the tournament that means the most to me, including the Grand Slams,” he said.

Rune lost his opener to Djokovic 7-6 (4), 6-7 (1), 6-3.



UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
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UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)

Clarity for players and spectators and zero tolerance for serious foul play and dissent — that’s what referees have been tasked with at the European Championship.

UEFA had already announced last month that it would do more to explain decisions to teams, requiring in turn that only captains can approach the referees to discuss them.

And that was emphasized on Wednesday at a media briefing on refereeing guidelines for Euro 2024 that took place at Munich’s Allianz Stadium, two days before host nation Germany kicks off the tournament in the same venue against Scotland.

"Only the captain will approach the referee, the other players they have to think about (playing). That’s it, finish," UEFA managing director for refereeing Roberto Rosetti said.

UEFA has promised that the referees will attempt to give the captains an explanation of key incidents during the match, including what was discussed with VAR.

Any teammate ignoring his captain’s role and approaching the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will receive a yellow card.

Fans, meanwhile, will also get a better understanding of VAR decisions as they will be broadcast on the giant screens in stadiums.

"This is something new. I think it’s very, very, very interesting," Rosetti said. "So we want to give, after the opinion of VAR, a technical explanation for the public. In live, simultaneously, the UEFA expert will prepare the explanation, a technical explanation about what happened in the specific situation.

"For example, on-field review, the referee awards a penalty for handball...technical explanation: Germany number nine touch the ball with his left arm which was in an unnatural position above the shoulder and making his body bigger."

Rosetti has met with all the teams participating at Euro 2024 and their coaches to present the refereeing guidelines for the tournament, including hammering home that any dangerous tackles will be severely punished.

"One of the most important priority in refereeing guidelines is to protect the players," Rosetti said. "To protect the image of the game, but in particular to protect the safety of the main actors of the games.

"We showed them a couple of clips that we are asking to the referees to be very strong in these kind of situations," he added. "So for such situations we asked to the referees to be zero tolerant because this is something that we cannot accept."