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!