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Jannik Sinner of Italy poses with the Miami Open trophy at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Miami: Jannik Sinner said he is enjoying every moment of his sensational start to the 2024 season after winning the Miami Open on Sunday for his third title of the year.

The Italian thoroughly outplayed Daniil Medvedev in the semis and Grigor Dimitrov in the final to improve to 22-1 on the year and rise to a career-best world number two.

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“This is a special moment,” Sinner said after beating Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1 in the final for his second Masters 1000 title.

“You never know if this is the last time or not. So you have to enjoy this for one day, and now a new chapter is coming, clay-court season is coming, so completely different.

“Let’s see how I will play from now on. But for sure, the hard-court season until now has been very good.”

Amazing feeling for Sinner

Behind an improved serve and textbook shot-making, Sinner has been on a roll this season, winning the Australian Open in January for what is expected to be the first of many Grand Slam titles.

His only loss of the year came to Carlos Alcaraz in the semis at Indian Wells but after his triumph in South Florida, the Spaniard will now be looking up to his rival in the rankings come Monday.

“Being No 2, it’s an amazing feeling,” Sinner said.

“I never thought to come to this point. I come from a very normal family. My dad is still working, as my mom, too. For me sport is one thing and life is different.”

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Jannik Sinner continue his stunning run this season, winning the third title of the year. Image Credit: AFP

Sinner’s coach Darren Cahill told reporters that the 22-year-old was loving life but also staying grounded.

“He appreciates every single moment that is happening to him, but he’s also got his feet on the ground knowing it’s just a sport, it’s just a tennis match,” Cahill said.

Roger Federer has retired, Rafael Nadal is battling with injuries and 36-year-old Novak Djokovic is entering the twilight of his career but Cahill, the Australian former coach of Andre Agassi, believes 22-year-old Sinner’s rivalry with Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz ensures a bright future for the sport.

Tennis is in great hands

“He’s getting to play a sport that he loves and do it at the highest order — and he’s loving every piece of his life at the moment. So he appreciates every single moment that is happening to him,” Cahill told reporters after the final at Hard Rock Stadium.

“But he has also got his feet on the ground, knowing it’s just a sport. It’s just a tennis match. And beyond this, whilst he’s professional in everything he does, he enjoys his life. He’s a normal 22-year-old kid.

“So there’s a lot to learn from him, a lot of good to learn from both him and Carlos. I think they’re very similar in many meaningful ways and that’s why I think tennis is in great hands at the moment with the likes of those two and many other players coming through that are going to carry the torch through a generation that we’ve been so fortunate to sit through the last 20 years.

“It is important to have these types of sports people coming through.”

Wrong to make comparisons

Cahill, who coached Australian former world number one Lleyton Hewitt and worked with Andy Murray, says that while the future looks bright, it would be wrong to make comparisons between Sinner and Alcaraz and the previous generation.

But he believes the new wave of talent are benefiting from the methods used by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

“What they were able to achieve for so many years is remarkable and I don’t think we’ll ever see that domination again, no matter what,” said the Australian.

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Grigor Dimitrov makes a return during the final against Sinner. Image Credit: AFP

“It has been remarkable how they’ve pushed the frontier of the game and made everyone more professional and made everybody play better. What you’re seeing with the players coming through now is a direct result of their professionalism, of the teams they put together, the way they’ve tried to inch out every piece of improvement in each of their games.”

He can get better

Cahill said there is no doubt that Sinner’s form — with three tournament wins in the opening three months of the season, starting with January’s Australian Open — is outstanding and he believes he will get even better.

“For where he is at the moment, right now, he’s playing a 10,” Cahill said. “You can’t sugarcoat it. He’s playing great and his level (in Miami) was fantastic. But he can get better.

“You evolve, you get a little bit older, a bit stronger, a bit faster, a bit smarter, all those things are going to start coming into his game.

“We’ve been working on improving his serve, improving his transition game, his slice backhand to use it as a change-up shot, direction on his forehand and return of service.

“But credit where it’s due — he’s playing terrific tennis at the moment.”