The season-ending championships are being played in Turin, Italy, and it was logical that the whole atmosphere favored Sinner to win the match and sided with him throughout an absorbing contest. The 22-year-old from San Candido earned his first win over the Serbian at the fourth attempt.
Sinner and Djokovic battled for over three hours in easily the match of the tournament so far. The match was drenched in drama and tension, and for Djokovic, it was nothing he had not seen before in his illustrious career having to play an opponent and a partisan crowd.
They cheered on for Sinner every step of the way, and the one double fault Djokovic hit during the match was greeted with a wild roar of celebration. The Serbian sarcastically clapped his racket. But that only added fuel to the fire and he was booed for his reaction.
And during one changeover in the match, Djokovic joined the pro-Sinner crowd in symphony as they booed him, and gesticulated as if he was playing an orchestra, while simultaneously smiling.` After the match, Djokovic had no ill feelings with the Italian fans and understood their cause.
"Well, I mean, it was expected. Obviously, him being the only Italian in the tournament, playing in Italy, there was a big hype, a big excitement for him to play in front of his home crowd. He's in great form. It's normal that the crowd wanted him to win."
Sinner handed Djokovic his first defeat since the Wimbledon final and has blown the group wide open. The Italian is not assured of a semifinal spot and will play Holger Rune in the final round-robin match. Djokovic will face Hubert Hurkacz who replaced the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas in his last group match.
The 36-year-old has rubbed shoulders with the Italian crowd the wrong way at this tournament as he was also whistled and jeered in his opening match against Holger Rune in which he destroyed two rackets after losing control of his emotions.