Janik Sinner’s skiing background has come to good use on the grass courts of Wimbledon. Stretching and sliding across the surface, the Italian tyro’s defences are hard to pierce. It was evident in his fourth-round tussle against Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. The aggressive Spaniard kept probing his frizzy-haired counterpart, but the wiry 20-year-old kept finding passing shots from deep. But in the quarters, Sinner finds himself against the baseline’s very own, Novak Djokovic.

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To square up against Djokovic is an imposing prospect. To do so as a rough-house version of the Serb is almost impossible. Many have wilted under Novak’s stalking presence, even on the brink of victory. Just ask Roger Federer! For Sinner to survive, let alone thrive, he needs to bring a wilder mix of possibilities onto the fraying Centre Court grass. A more aggressive style- executed to perfection- has occasionally bothered the otherwise unflappable Balkan. Sam Querrey’s chip and charge style come to mind, but those instances are few and far between. But for lesser players, it does offer a template to challenge the Djoker.

Former French Open runner-up Alex Corretja argues similarly. Speaking on Eurosport’s Wimbledon program, the Spaniard outlines Sinner’s need to introduce more variations to his game to stand against the top seed:

“The problem against Novak is that he is playing someone who has a similar style game to him but with more experience, someone who is probably a little more consistent with the serve. But I think he needs to play his game, but also with a little variation because otherwise for Jannik it is going to be very difficult,” quotes TennisWorld USA.

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While Sinner has occasionally chosen to serve and volley, he’ll need to rely more heavily on the tactic if he is to oust Djokovic:

“If Novak gets the rhythm of the opponent then he can be very dangerous. I think it is more in Novak’s hands, but I am happy to see that Jannik has been improving his game overall. He serves and volleys from time to time, he comes to the net, and he played some drop shots as well.”

“I think he needs to do that against Novak as well and try to push Novak off the second serve as well and don’t let him play comfortably on the court otherwise it is going to be very difficult. We will see how it goes, but I think it is going to be very, very difficult to beat Novak,” adds Corretja.

But with the grass courts slower this time around, it still might not be enough to blunt Novak’s charge to a seventh Wimby.