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Mental health is a problem in our current society. The Italian Jannik Sinner, rising star of the ATP circuit and now a member of the Top 10, is not only fully committed on the tennis courts. He is also at the initiative of an awareness campaign on the mental health of athletes, particularly affected during the Covid19 pandemic.
Tell us about your mental health campaign What’s Kept You Moving?
I came up with the idea of What’s Kept You Moving during lockdown in 2020, I wanted to create a conversation around how people are dealing with difficult times and that its ok to talk about hard things that you’re facing. 2020 was the start of a hard time for many, many people, especially my generation, Generation-Z in relation to mental health. It was a huge problem before the pandemic and since then it has only been heightened. I wanted to collect people’s stories of how they have delt with mental health with the with the hope to create a sense of community and a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, with the idea to get people talking more about it.
Have you enjoyed creating the project so far?
For me it’s been great, to feel like I am able to give back a little bit and use the platform that I have for good. The project has received some great feedback and a lot of support, it’s very inspiring for me to see people get behind this and show their support. So far, I have spoken to a mixture of people from athletes to young aspiring tennis players, and everyone has been able to share their positive and negative experiences of the last few years, to hear everyone’s stories has been a privilege for me.
What have you learnt by going through this process?
One reason for making this project was that I feel like everyone has a story, no matter what walk of life you are from or what stage of your life you are in, everyone has a story which should be told. This is something I felt before the project but has only been justified further since the start of it. To see that no matter what people are doing or going through in their life, we can all relate. That’s why I am happy its sort of made a community where people are able to come together and share experiences.
Tell us about some of the participants in your project so far?
I’ve spoken to many great people so far and I hope to continue to in the future. So far I have spoken to Paralympic gold medallist Bebe Vio, Filippo Tortu, Jordyn Huitema, Favij and a number of junior aspiring tennis players. It’s been great because each participant has brought something different to each episode. Bebe was great because she is a friend of mine and to have her be part of the project was fun, she shared how she found the process of trying to prepare for the Olympic Games in the middle of a pandemic and the uncertainties that placed on her shoulders, so to see her go on to defend her Olympic title was extra special. Next I will be speaking to a Dr who was on the frontline during the height of the pandemic, I think it will be very interesting to speak to them to understand how the past couple of years have been for them and how they were able to navigate through it.
Why do you think it’s important to create a discussion around mental health?
For me, I feel like not enough people were or are talking about the subject, there are some conversations happening but not enough, and that’s why I wanted to use the platform that I have to try and create some awareness and get more people talking. As I said before, my generation has been really struggling when it comes to mental health, especially throughout the pandemic, people have felt isolated and alone due to the uncommon circumstances we found ourselves in, so I feel the more people that can talk about it and destigmatise it the better, creating a community where everyone feels safe to talk about how they feel was and is the goal.
Where do you see What’s Kept You Moving going in the future?
I’m keen to keep building out the project for years to come, I think it’s very important to continue raising awareness around mental health in whatever way that may be, it’s something I want to continue to do. As I said I have a platform with what I do so I have the desire to build something that can help other people. I have the next few participants lined up for my social channel episodes, and I am already working on an exciting project with GQ to build this out even further. It’s an ongoing topic that is very important to me and I want to continue to raise awareness and give back to whenever I can.Exclusive interview Tsitsipas
For two seasons, the ATP Tour has lived, like the rest of the world, to the rhythm of the Covid. Do we end up getting used to it?
It’s not been easy for sure but considering how many people are suffering in the world, we should not complain.
Does this significantly change your approach to competition and/or your programming?
I practice just as hard as I did before the pandemic and try to have a full tournament schedule.
What do you think is the heaviest?
All the restrictions, tests, etc but as I said before, compared to the rest of the world, we are privileged to still be able to travel the world and play our sport.
You often used to visit, walk around, even film the cities in which you came to play tournaments … do you miss that? Or does it ultimately allow you to focus only on tennis ?
I love exploring the places where we play, it is so enriching and fun to do so, travel is one of the best educators. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do as much as before but it is out of our control.
Are you suddenly much less present on social networks? Voluntarily?
Sometimes I think it is good to take a little break from social media. It should not take over your life. But like anything its a habit, we have to try and find a balance in the end.
The European clay-court season is coming… we imagine you are already impatient to defend your title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters…
I love playing on clay, I grew up on the surface and Monaco is where I live. I can’t wait to try and defend my title at the MCCC.
After your success at the Masters in 2019, it was your first Masters 1000 title last year. Obviously a great memory … A tournament won with authority, without losing a set…
During this 2021 édition of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, we discovered a more pragmatic, more poised, less volcanic Stefanos Tsitsipas. Is combining your inspired tennis with a «more calculating» side a necessity to win big tournaments?
I had a great week in Monte Carlo last year, everything clicked for me. It was one of the best weeks of my career, together with the Nitto ATP Finals in 2019.
In 2019, you said: “Offensive play is the future of tennis! “Do you still think so?
I still believe you must attack and try to win the point first, I like to control the game.
Patrice Dominguez, former tournament director, used to say that those who shone in Monte-Carlo also shone at Roland-Garros. It was often true. This was the case for you with this final in Paris…You led two sets to zero against Novak Djokovic in the Roland-Garros final. What remains of this meeting?
It was a very painful loss; it took me time to recover from it. It was an incredible experience nonetheless, which showed me I can be on the biggest stages of tennis and compete with the best to win a grand slam title.
More than ever, we feel you are capable of winning a Grand Slam tournament… is it for 2022?
I hope so, that is what I work for every day.
Strangely, you only have 7 ATP titles on your list… do you think that’s too few?
I am only 23 and I have always played the big tournaments with all top players competing. I don’t think 7 titles is too few, it’s all part of my journey, so far 😉
The last three were won in France (or almost): Marseille, Monte-Carlo and Lyon. Pure chance or the culture of the country suits you perfectly?
I love playing in France and Monaco, the crowd is so knowledgeable and there is so much tennis tradition. Plus, part of my team is French and being around them has helped me understand the language more and more, I am not fluent, but I do aspire to get there one day.
Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev won the US Open in 2020 and 2021 respectively, Alexander Zverev the Olympic title in Tokyo and twice the Masters, you also won the Masters… even if Novak Djokovic came very close to a historic Grand Slam the last season, the competition thickened considerably for the giants Djoko-Nadal and Federer…
I think we are closing in on them, they have been the best generation of players that tennis ever had in history, it’s not been easy to break through, but they have helped us raise our game, without them we would not have been able to raise our games to a higher level.
Can you imagine them continuing again? And still be able to win?
Djokovic is still number one and Nadal is coming back and won his first tournament upon returning. For sure they can continue to win.
You are (still) part of the younger generation. But an even younger one is already arriving. Who would you bet on for a nice surprise in 2022? And on the decade to come?
I think Sinner and Alcaraz are probably ahead of the others right now, but there are a lot of young and dangerous players out there. The future of tennis will be fun!A new leadership team
David Massey appointed Director of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters
Thursday, June 30, 2022 – The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters is pleased to announce that David Massey has been appointed Director of the Monegasque tournament, one of the most iconic of the ATP Circuit, which kicks off the clay court season every year. David Massey will be working in collaboration and under the supervision of Chris Kermode, Executive Advisor and Tournament Designated Representative.
“I am delighted to welcome Chris and David, who I have personally known for many years, into the Monegasque tennis family. Their respective experiences are a great added value to our teams and promise a bright future for the Monte-Carlo Tournament!”, said the President of the Monegasque Tennis Federation and of the Monte-Carlo Country Club Melanie-Antoinette de Massy.
Resident in the Principality since the end of 2001, David Massey, 44, worked for 20 years in the ATP Tour where he held positions in communications, sponsorship, and tournament relations before assuming the role of ATP’s Vice President for Europe in 2009. In January 2016, the polyglot who is fluent in English, French and Spanish, was appointed Executive Vice President of the ATP in Europe, leading all aspects of the ATP’s relationship with the 31 European tournaments that make up the international men’s tennis tour. In October 2021, David Massey joined the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters as Deputy Tournament Director and will take on the role of Tournament Director from July 1, 2022, onwards. He succeeds Zeljko Franulovic.
“It is a great honour for me to take on this new challenge. I would like to thank Miss Melanie-Antoinette de Massy and all the members of the Organizing Committee for the trust placed in me. Due to its history linked to the Principality and the Princely Family, its unique site in the world that plunges into the Mediterranean and its prestigious partners, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters occupies a special place in the hearts of players. Under the leadership of Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy and my predecessors, this century-old tournament has continued to grow over the years. By bringing a fresh perspective and my international experience, I wish to be able to support the pursuit of its influence,” said David Massey, at the announcement of his appointment.
Chris Kermode was appointed Executive Chairman and President of the ATP Tour between 2014 and 2019, serving two terms as head of men’s professional tennis. His career began as a player and then turned to tournament management, first as Tournament Director at Queen’s Club in London and then General Manager of the ATP Masters in London as well. Since January 2020, Chris Kermode has been the Executive Advisor as well as the official representative of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
This experienced team is already preparing the 116th edition, which will be played from 8 to 16 April 2023 on the red clay of the prestigious Monte-Carlo Country Club.Tsitsipas Defeats Davidovich Fokina, Defends Title
Stefanos Tsitsipas successfully defended his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title Sunday, dispatching Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3, 7-6(3) to capture his second ATP Masters 1000 crown.
“I am very proud of myself,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “Things weren’t going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off. I am really proud with the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high.”
The Greek, who was appearing in his fourth final at this level, struck his forehands with fierce topspin and accuracy and recovered from failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set to capture his first trophy of the season.
“He fought in moments I didn’t expect him to fight,” Tsitsipas said. “He can hit incredible winners out of nowhere and play unpredictably. But I was able to minimise that. I knew he would be a dangerous opponent but that is a great win for me. I think we will see great results from him in the future.”
With his one-hour, 34-minute victory, Tsitsipas has become the sixth player to win back-to-back Monte Carlo titles in the Open Era joining Rafael Nadal (2005-12, 2016-18), Juan Carlos Ferrero (2002-03), Thomas Muster (1995-96), Bjorn Borg (1979-1980) and Ilie Nastase (1971-1973).
In a standout week, the third seed produced consistent and aggressive tennis to capture his first title since he triumphed in Lyon last May. Tsitsipas overcame 2019 titlist Fabio Fognini, Laslo Djere and second seed Alexander Zverev in straight sets, but survived a major scare in the quarter-finals against Diego Schwartzman, rallying from 0-4 in the third set to advance.
The 23-year-old, who defeated Andrey Rublev in the championship match in Monte Carlo last season, will climb to No. 2 in the ATP Race To Turin on Monday. The Greek has now won eight tour-level trophies, with four coming on clay.
In a fast start, Davidovich Fokina showed little sign of nerves on Court Rainier III as he started the better, quickly finding his range on his forehand from the baseline to earn an early break. However, Tsitsipas quickly responded as he hit with greater depth, firing a forehand past the Spaniard to break back for 2-2.
The Greek continued to impose his heavy-hitting game on Davidovich Fokina, pulling the 22-year-old from corner to corner as he won four of the next five games to move ahead after 31 minutes.
Fuelled by momentum, Tsitsipas then seized further control at the start of the second set as he overpowered Davidovich Fokina with his ball-striking. The 23-year-old broke for a 2-0 lead, but Davidovich Fokina showcased the grit, which has seen him achieve breakthrough results the week. Pumped up and in the zone, the Spaniard began to club the ball with greater width, soaring back to 4-4.
Tsitsipas broke again when he received a little bit of luck on break point at 4-4 when his mis-hit forehand landed in, before he won the point with a topspin forehand that the Spaniard was unable to return. The Greek could not serve out the match though, with Davidovich Fokina raising his level to force a tie-break. Tsitsipas would not be denied a second Masters 1000 crown, though, playing more consistently in the tie-break as he forced errors from Davidovich Fokina with his width to triumph.
Tsitsipas improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head series with Davidovich Fokina. He also eliminated the World No. 46 in Monte Carlo last year, when the Spaniard was forced to retire after losing the first set 5-7 in their quarter-final clash.
Davidovich Fokina was competing in his maiden ATP Tour final, having earned wins over Marcos Giron, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, David Goffin, Indian Wells titlist Taylor Fritz and 2018 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov.
The 22-year-old was aiming to become the first unseeded winner at the Monte Carlo Country Club since Muster in 1992 and also the first player since qualifier Albert Portas in Hamburg in 2001 to capture his maiden tour-level title at a Masters 1000 event.
Despite defeat, Davidovich Fokina is projected to rise to a career-high No. 27 in the ATP Rankings following his dream run in the Principality. He arrived in Monte Carlo holding just a 4-9 record on the season and having lost all three of his previous tour-level semi-finals.‘Wow, What A Moment’: Davidovich Fokina Reflects
Despite falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was feeling positive and encouraged Sunday as he reflected on his dream run to his first ATP Tour final.
The 22-year-old arrived at the Monte Carlo Country Club holding a 4-9 record on the season. However, he played some of the best tennis of his career on the red dirt as he earned five wins at the event, including standout victories against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells titlist Taylor Fritz.
“[It] was [an] amazing experience,” Davidovich Fokina said in his on-court interview. “I enjoyed every day, winning big [matches]. Beating Djoko and players that are at the height of their careers. It was a tough week. A lot of emotions.
“This week with my team was amazing. [It] was a dream come true to play here in Monte Carlo [with] full crowds. To hear the people support was amazing. I was at the bench thinking, ‘Wow, what a moment’.”
Davidovich Fokina’s best result at an ATP Masters 1000 event prior to the week came in Monte Carlo last season, when he advanced to the quarter-finals before Tsitsipas stopped him.
Following his run to the championship match, the Spaniard is projected to rise to a career-high No. 27 in the ATP Rankings on Monday. Davidovich Fokina admitted that he would not be getting carried away though and will take nothing for granted in his upcoming events as he bids to build on his newfound momentum.
“Beating these guys [gives you] much confidence,” Davidovich Fokina said. “After this week I don’t know if I will win matches. I will be focused like this week on every point, every game. I will enjoy every moment now. Doesn’t matter if I lose or if I win. I’m so happy with myself, what I am doing and just to keep in that line.”
A crucial factor behind Davidovich Fokina’s rise has been his strong relationship with coach Jorge Aguire, who has supported the Spaniard for more than a decade.
“We started when I was 10, 11 years old,” Davidovich Fokina added. “From the beginning, he taught me a lot of things. He keeps me in the line every year. Without him, I [would not] be a tennis player. He lives every match like me. He has a lot of emotions every match. I’m thankful that he gives everything every match because I feel it. We are so connected out of the court and on the court.”Tsitsipas: ‘I Think I Have A Big Chance Of Top Two’
Stefanos Tsitsipas was thrilled to successfully defend his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title this week. However, what made it “double” special was how deep he had to dig to lift the trophy in the Principality again.
“It was a great way to top it off with lots of fighting in the end,” Tsitsipas said. “[It was] not so much [about] going for clean winners or for too much beautiful tennis, but trying to put in the hard work in every single point and go over the limits, as I like to say.”
In the semi-finals, Tsitsipas rallied from 0-4 in the third set against Diego Schwartzman. In the final, he let slip an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set. But instead of panicking, the two-time Monte Carlo champion quickly rebounded to complete his victory in the ensuing tie-break.
Tsitsipas earned 1,000 ATP Rankings points with his win, which will propel him to second in the ATP Race To Turin on Monday as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year. But the 23-year-old has set his sights even higher.
“I have a surface that I might be adjusting easier to than other surfaces and we know which one that is,” Tsitsipas said of his recent performance on clay. “My goal ever since I have realised that… is if I’m able to score points [on] this surface as much as I can and really concentrate on the other surfaces a bit more, I can really pull off a great year, maybe even finishing among the two best tennis players at the end of the season.”
The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion is off to a strong start to his season, which has included a run to the Australian Open semi-finals and the Rotterdam final on top of his Monte Carlo triumph. He is aiming to bring the level he did in the Principality throughout the year.
“I’m always trying to bring the best I can from clay and adjust accordingly to the other surfaces. I really want to be doing well on hard and grass this year, because I feel like I can really get a lot of points there,” Tsitsipas said. “If I’m able to win matches with the same consistency I do on this surface, I think I have a big chance of finishing the year [in] the top two, which is a huge goal of mine to be finally there and belong in that special group of players.”
Only five active players — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Daniil Medvedev — have reached World No. 2, and all of them have ascended to World No. 1. Tsitsipas has reached a career-high of World No. 3.
“My tennis is great I think everywhere, with clay maybe being the surface that I can adjust [to] the best. I have had moments where I was trying to apply what I apply on clay on hard. Doesn’t really seem to be working much. Sometimes it’s not really the way to go,” Tsitsipas said. “But this has also [taught] me a lot that I should adjust and I should never really become obsessive that, ‘Okay, whatever works on clay should work on faster surfaces’.”
For now, Tsitsipas will not look too far ahead. The Greek is right back to work at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell this week. The top seed is a two-time finalist at the ATP 500, where he will try to lift another trophy.Ram/Salisbury Capture Second Masters 1000 Crown
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury cemented their new status as the world’s top-ranked doubles pairing on Sunday with a pulsating 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 victory over Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
The American-British duo overcame stubborn resistance from sixth seeds Cabal and Farah at the ATP Masters 1000 event, producing an all-round display to prevail in a match that saw all four players maintain a high level throughout.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Salisbury in the pair’s on-court interview. “I’m so happy right now. It’s a first title on clay together, on a surface that we always thought was a weaker one for us. [We have] not done too well here before, but we’ve been working really hard, and we knew we could play well. [I am] just so happy that it’s come together and to get the win here.”
“I got the best player in the world on my team, that helps!” added Ram when asked about the secrets to the pair’s success. “It’s our fourth year together, we have great chemistry, we work really well together on and off the court. I think it shows in matches like this, we can piece together a good effort and give ourselves a competitive chance.”
Clinching a second ATP Masters 1000 crown with Ram caps a dream week for 29-year-old Salisbury, who reached No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday. He and Ram showed off some of the skills that have made them the world’s top-ranked pairing, combining strong serving and rock-solid net play with imaginative returning to clinch victory in one hour, 38 minutes.
Neither team gave much away in a tight opening set that featured some entertaining back-and-forth at the net, but it was top seeds Ram and Salisbury who edged ahead after clinching the only break of the set in the seventh game.
Two-time Masters 1000 champions Cabal and Farah were never far away from their higher-ranked opponents and ramped up the pressure in the second set. All four players continued to strike the ball cleanly, but it was the Colombians who secured a crucial break with a sudden-death deciding point for 5-3 before serving out to level the match.
The teams had come through a Match Tie-break apiece on their way to the championship clash, but it was the top-seeded pairing who found something extra at crucial moments to clinch a maiden clay-court title together, with Salisbury crashing a forehand winner down the middle to trigger the celebrations on Court Rainier III.
The win improves Ram and Salisbury’s record in tour-level finals to 6-8, with the duo having also clinched Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open in 2020 and the US Open last year. They now lead Cabal and Farah 5-1 in the ATP Head2Head series between the two teams. Sunday’s final was the first time they had met in the 2022 season and was their first encounter on clay.
Ram and Salisbury, who lifted their maiden Masters 1000 title at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto last year, are now looking forward to hunting further success on the clay in 2022.
“It’s huge,” said Salisbury. “I feel like the past seasons that we’ve played [on clay] we’ve taken a while to get into it, but it’s massive getting the win here. We know we can play really well and really looking forward to the rest of the events.”Final Preview: Tsitsipas Seeks Title Defence vs. Davidovich Fokina
One man stands between Stefanos Tsitsipas and back-to-back Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters titles on Sunday. The unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, playing in his first ATP Tour final, has already beaten World No. 1 Novak Djokovic this week in Monaco. One more upset could surpass that as the biggest win of the 22-year-old’s career.
In the doubles final, two longtime pairings and 2021 Nitto ATP Finals competitors will seek their first title of the 2022 season as top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury face sixth-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
View Schedule | View Singles Draw | View Doubles Draw
 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
After coming from behind to win a late-night classic against Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals, Tsitsipas recovered quickly to dominate Alexander Zverev, 6-4, 6-2, in the semis. That efficient result should leave him in good stead for the last leg of his title defence.
“It’s going to take a little bit more,” said Tsitsipas, looking ahead to his third ATP Head2Head meeting with Davidovich Fokina. “He’s on a good run, in a good rhythm. I’ve played him before, he’s a good opponent, I’ve had big battles against him and I’m going to try and be as ready as possible.
“I know he’s improved from before and I’m going to have that in the back of my head, to produce the best tennis that I can.”
Tsitsipas and Davidovich Fokina met one year ago in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals, with the Spaniard retiring after dropping a 7-5 opening set. Their second meeting came in February, when Tsitsipas scored a 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-4 win in Rotterdam.
‘Foki’ is the first unseeded Monte Carlo finalist since Dusan Lajovic in 2019. He advanced to his first ATP Tour final in his fourth semi-final attempt, battling past Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-7(2), 6- 3.
“I am so, so happy to be in the final. It is a dream come true,” Davidovich Fokina said following his semi-final win. “When I was a kid I was dreaming about this day.”
After describing the hard work he and his team have put in since preseason in December, he later added: “Now I am in the final, I will enjoy it and try my best.”
The Spaniard has already knocked off three ATP Masters 1000 champions on the way to the final: Djokovic, Taylor Fritz and Dimitrov. If he can take out a fourth, he will achieve the rare feat of winning his first tour-level title at that elite level.
 Rajeev Ram (USA) / Joe Salisbury (GBR) vs.  Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) / Robert Farah (COL)
In a doubles final well-serving of center stage on Court Rainier III, two multiple Grand Slam-winning teams seek their best result of the 2022 season.
These teams have met five times before, with four of those matches requiring either a Match Tie-break or a third-set tie-break. Ram and Salisbury, who lead the ATP Head2Head series 4-1, took all four of those tie-breaks, including three in 2021 (Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Nitto ATP Finals).
But Cabal and Farah won the only final contested between the teams, scoring a straight-sets win to take the 2021 Vienna title.
Both teams have dropped just one set en route to the championship match, setting up for a grand finale on Sunday.
SCHEDULE – Sunday, April 17
COURT RAINIER III start 11:30 am
 R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs.  J. Sebastian Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)
Not Before 2:30 pm
 S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)
Stefanos Tsitsipas conjured up more Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters magic on Saturday to take out second seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and move within one win of a successful defence of his 2021 title.
The World No. 5 struck the ball cleanly throughout, and while Zverev responded with some fierce groundstrokes of his own it was the Greek who produced the goods at crucial moments in a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Tsitsipas was involved in one of the most topsy-turvy matches of the year late on Friday night as he battled past Diego Schwartzman in a Monte Carlo classic in the quarter-finals. The Greek showed no signs of fatigue from that battle and also avoided the lapses of concentration that had blighted his performance against Schwartzman to see victory through against Zverev in 75 minutes.
“It was good,” said Tsitsipas in his on-court interview. “I don’t know whether the long match gave me some rhythm, but I was able to play good tennis today. I’m happy with the level I was able to execute and come up with some good ideas on the court.”
The third seed’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, after the Spaniard reached a maiden ATP Tour final with a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov earlier on Saturday.
Tsitsipas will take a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead over the Spaniard into Sunday’s clash, but the Greek is not taking anything for granted against a player who has also beaten World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz this week.
“It’s going to take a little bit more,” said Tsitsipas. “He’s on a good run, in a good rhythm. I’ve played him before, he’s a good opponent, I’ve had big battles against him and I’m going to try and be as ready as possible.
“I know he’s improved from before and I’m going to have that in the back of my head, to produce the best tennis that I can.”
Tsitsipas looked dialled in from the start against Zverev on Court Rainier III and appeared to have the upper hand for most of the opening set as he struck the ball sweetly off both wings. The German fought hard to twice recover from a break down but Tsitsipas produced a tenth game full of variety to clinch a third break and seal the set.
A tight second frame was more comfortable for Tsitsipas, who gave Zverev no room to breathe and began to use his drop shot to great effect to move his opponent around the court at will. The Greek broke twice to take the set and reach a fourth Masters 1000 final.
Tsitsipas’ path to victory was paved by the constant pressure he was able to exert on the Zverev serve. According to Infosys ATP Stats, the Greek won 47 per cent (15/32) of points against his opponent’s first delivery, one of the most feared weapons on Tour.
Tsitsipas’ win extends his ATP Head2Head series lead over Zverev to 7-3. The Greek has won all three of the pair’s meetings on clay, including a five-set semi-final thriller at Roland Garros in 2021.Davidovich Fokina Reaches Maiden ATP Tour Final
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina continued his dream run at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Saturday, downing Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 to reach his first ATP Tour final.
The Spaniard arrived in Monte Carlo with a 4-9 record on the season, having earned just one Top 100 win in 2022. However, the World No. 46 has produced a string of impressive performances this week, combining quality with grit to earn standout victories over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Indian Wells champ Taylor Fritz, Marcos Giron, David Goffin and now Dimitrov.
Competing in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, a pumped-up Davidovich Fokina recovered from squandering a 5-3 lead in the second set as he rose to the occasion in the decider in front of a lively crowd on Court Rainier III. The 22-year-old blasted his groundstrokes with consistent depth, successfully targeted Dimitrov’s backhand and rallied from a break down in the third set to triumph after two hours and 42 minutes.
“I am so, so happy to be in the final. It is a dream come true,” Davidovich Fokina said in his on-court interview. “When I was a kid I was dreaming about this day. It is a dream and I am so happy. The second set I had my chances, but I didn’t play very well. I was so tight and he just put the ball in. The tie-break was also tight. But I went to the bathroom and said that I want this win.”
Davidovich Fokina, who reached the last eight in Monte Carlo in 2021, will be aiming to win his first tour-level title when he faces second seed Alexander Zverev or reigning champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final. He was 0-3 in tour-level semi-finals heading into his match with Dimitrov, but changed that record with his proactive display to earn the biggest win of his career.
The 22-year-old broke Dimitrov five times and looked to open up the court as he hit an array of angles to pull the Bulgarian around. With his hard-fought victory, Davidovich Fokina now leads Dimitrov 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having also defeated the former World No. 3 on clay in Rome last year.
“He started the second set well and had the chances to break me again for 3-0. But that hold gave me power to keep pushing,” Davidovich Fokina said. “Now I am in the final I will enjoy it and try my best.”
The Spaniard made a fast start as he showcased his current confidence levels with an all-court display in the first set. Davidovich Fokina crushed his groundstrokes with heavy topspin to move 3-1 ahead as he earned an early break. According to Infosys ATP Stats, the World No. 46 did not face a break point in the opener and sealed the set when Dimitrov could only hit a forehand long when pinned deep behind the baseline.
The 30-year-old responded quickly at the start of the second set, though, as Davidovich Fokina’s intensity slightly dropped. However, from 2-0 up, Dimitrov started to hit his backhands short again, which allowed Davidovich Fokina to gain the upper hand in rallies and dictate. The Spaniard won four straight games, but from 5-4 he was unable to serve out the match as nerves appeared to impact his ball striking. Dimitrov then played the more aggressive tennis in the tie-break to force a decider.
Fueled with confidence, Dimitrov looked as if he was heading for the finish line when he moved 2-0 ahead in the third set. But crucially, Davidovich Fokina saved four break points at 0-2, including one with an underarm serve. His hold changed the momentum of the match once again, with the Spaniard winning six of the next seven games to triumph.
“Since preseason in December, we worked very hard to have moment like this,” Davidovich Fokina added. “From the beginning of this season I had a lot of matches that I could have won but I lost them.
“I just continued to keep believing to keep pushing. Doesn’t matter about the results. I am just enjoying every moment and playing every ball.”
Dimitrov was playing in his second semi-final in Monte Carlo, having enjoyed a run to the last four in 2018. The World No. 29, who upset fourth seed Casper Ruud earlier this week, is an eight-time tour-level titlist. However, the 30-year-old has not lifted a trophy since he clinched the Nitto ATP Finals crown in London in 2017.Ram/Salisbury Dig Deep For Monte Carlo Final Spot
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury reached a maiden Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final in dramatic style on Saturday as they overcame Rohan Bopanna and Jamie Murray in an epic semi-final at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Ram and Salisbury needed a strong Match Tie-break performance to see off their unseeded opponents, who had taken the first set with a solitary break. The top seeds failed to convert the only break point opportunity they carved out in the match but held their nerve to clinch a 3-6, 7-6(4), 11-9 victory.
Ram and Salisbury’s comeback win was powered by a strong serving performance. They won 82 per cent (31/38) of points behind their first delivery overall, according to Infosys ATP Stats.
Bopanna and Murray won 74 points in the match at Ram and Salisbury’s 67 goal were second best at crucial moments on Court Rainier III. Bopanna has a career-high doubles ranking of No. 3 while Murray is a former World No. 1, but the duo was playing as a team for the first time this week.
If the American-British duo can lift its maiden clay-court trophy in Monte Carlo it will cap a perfect week for 29-year-old Salisbury, who became the world’s top-ranked doubles player for the first time on Monday, 4 April. He is only the second British player after Murray to achieve that feat.
Ram and Salisbury will now face Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in Sunday’s final after the sixth seeds defeated Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer, 7-5, 6-3.
Cabal and Farah won 81 per cent (34/42) of points behind their first delivery and saved all four break points they faced to advance after 85 minutes.
The pair has won 19 tour-level titles together and will be aiming to clinch their third Masters 1000 crown together on Sunday. It will be a tough task, though, with Ram and Salisbury leading the Colombians 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.