With Chinese New Year around the corner, you would want to avoid "four", a number long thought to be unlucky. But fourth-seed Jannik Sinner disproved that theory yesterday by clinching his first ever Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open 2024.
The Italian World No 4 beat Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller that lasted three hours and 44 seconds to become the youngest player to win since Novak Djokovic in 2008. Coincidentally, Sinner ended the Serbian's bid for a record-extending 11th title and a 25th major during the semi-finals on Friday.
The 15,000-strong crowd at the Open’s historic Rod Laver Arena was woken up halfway through the finals when Sinner showed inner steel and finished with a nail-biting flourish by coming from behind to topple Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
The Wimbledon 2023 semi-finalist finally got to lift the historic Norman Brookes Challenge Cup — as the Australian Open trophy is called, in honour of the St Kilda-born three-time Grand Slam winner — much to the delight of his Australian coach Darren Cahill and a crowd of big names that included Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, American tennis great Jim Courier and former New Zealand All Blacks rugby legend Dan Carter.
Incidentally, 2024 marks the first time the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup is encased in a bespoke Louis Vuitton Trophy Trunk, exclusively created by the maisons' artisans in Asnières, just outside Paris. The luxury house was recently named Official Trophy Trunk partner of the tournament in further affirmation of the brand’s longstanding commitment to the game of tennis, dating back to its creation of Trophy Trunks for Roland-Garros and the Davis Cup.
Cahill’s appointment in mid-2022 certainly deserves some of the credit tonight. There have been no shortage of victory puns that play on the 22-year-old’s surname. But the Australian Open’s official instagram probably says it best: “The Sinner takes it all.”