The first time is always special and for Jannik Sinner it was just that as he won his first ATP Masters 1000 title with the Canadian Open in Toronto, and on top of that he gave himself an early birthday present as the quiet, down to earth Italian turns 22 on 16 August. He is the youngest champion of the event since Alexander Zverev who was 20 in 2017 when he won the title.
Sinner defeated first time Masters 1000 finalist, Aussie Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-1 in one hour 29 minutes in what was their fifth meeting and which Sinner has won all.
"It means a lot. It is a great result," Sinner said. "One I can share with all the people who are close to me every day. It is a nice moment to share with them and we are doing the right things. This result makes us feel good, stronger and hungry to work even harder in the future.
"I am proud how I handled the situation. Every opponent here is tough to play against and I felt the pressure, but I think I handled it very well. Trying to play point after point. Treating everyone with respect on the court, so I am happy with how I handled the situation."
Not only was a great week on court for both men, off court is also impressive as their efforts in Toronto has seen Sinner move to a new career high ranking of six and De Minaur is at a new career high ranking of 12 which makes him the highest ranked Australian man since Nick Kyrgios in January 2017.
"Jannik is a hell of a player. He's got some of the hardest ground strokes I've probably ever dealt, to be honest. All these things I knew coming in. I knew what to expect," De Minaur said. "I think, ultimately, he kind of executed his game plan a little bit better than I was able to do mine.
"The plan was to try to neutralize as much as I could, try to keep my depth. And as soon as I had a chance, try to take control of the rally, dictate, come in and be aggressive, and all that.
But, yeah, look, he played an extremely high level. I think he returned really well, as well. You know, I was constantly under pressure on my serve.
"And, yeah, it was just one of those days. He deserved it today. He came out and played a very high level."
This was the third time Sinner has played a Masters 1000 final, he lost finals at the Miami Open in 2021 and this year but he still has an impressive 18-4 win-loss record at the 1000's this year. He is the first Italian to win the Canadian Open in the open ear and just the second Italian to win a Masters 1000, the other being Fabio Fognini at Monte Carlos in 2019.
For De Minaur it was his fourth final of 2023 and second in as many weeks having lost in Los Cabos but during the week in Toronto he defeated Cam Norrie, Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Sinner accounted for Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils and Tommy Paul in the semis.
Sinner's towering game allowed him several opportunities through the match. He broke serve in the tenth game of the first set to claim that; overall he broke the Aussie five times in the match.
The doubles title went to Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Roger, they defeated Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-3, 6-1.