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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.