«A game of chess» where the two kings are Jannik Sinner and, obviously, Novak Djokovic.
The metaphor found by Filippo Volandri is more apt than ever: the Davis Cup semi-final scheduled today, starting at midday, in Malaga between Italy and Serbia will be a challenge of waiting, studying the opponent and above all strategy. This is the third meeting in a few days for the Italian talent and number one in the world: Sinner’s victory in the ATP Finals group and the Serbian’s revenge in the final. And now in Spain the “beautiful” one that is worth the Davis final. Whoever wins will challenge Australia, who eliminated Finland yesterday after the two singles matches, both won by two sets to zero, by Popyrin and De Minaur.
Volandri has no doubts: «It will be different from the two previous matches in Turin. With all the recent experiences they have had, Djokovic understood what to expect from Jannik, and Jannik understood that what he had done in the first match was no longer enough.” And all racket sports enthusiasts have also understood this: interest in the big match, in fact, has grown not only among Italians and Serbs to the point that the world media have already defined it as “an early final”, the meeting between the two fittest tennis players of the moment.
There is curiosity to understand how much longer the reign of Djokovic, the strongest player of all time, can continue, and whether Sinner, who has already beaten him in Turin, is the “predestined” to take the scepter from him in 2024.
«Jannik puts himself to the test – underlines Volandri – For those who watch it will be an even more special match than the last two because we will be playing chess with two captains on the pitch and a broader vision, with the teams pushing the players». «Nole, I saw him well – he adds – How Jannik arrived late, not being able to test the pitch much. But against Great Britain he brought out the fire he has inside. It will be a really good match.”
I have already decided the singles player who will take to the court first and the pair for the doubles. Volandri chose to send Lorenzo Musetti (number 21 Atp) onto the pitch first, who won the ballot with Matteo Arnaldi (no. 44) and Lorenzo Sonego (no. 47). For the doubles, the pair of Sinner and Sonego was confirmed, decisive for the victory in the previous round against the Netherlands.
However, there is the opponent that Serbia will send on the field and the personal comparisons between players to consider. Viktor Troicki, in addition to Djokovic, can make use of Laslo Djere (n.33), Dusan Lajovic (n.46) and Miomir Kecmanovic (n.55). The latter played and won his match in the quarter-final match against Great Britain.