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Tsitsipas: Why overcoming Sinner ‘obstacle’ was key to Monte-Carlo progress


The emotions on Stefanos Tsitsipas’ face said it all Sunday afternoon, when the Greek star claimed his third Rolex Monte-Carlos Masters title. The 12th seed was thrilled with his victory, which he believes is his best in the Principality.

“If I have to compare my level of tennis with the last two times that I have won here, I would probably say this time has been the best that I have come up with some incredible tennis,” Tsitsipas said. “You can easily say, ‘Stef, you won the first time here without dropping a set, wouldn’t that be the best performance that you have had in Monte-Carlo?’ I would tell you, ‘Not exactly’.

“I had an opponent in the semi-finals that is a world-class tennis player right now who refused to lose to anyone, and he’s been on a very good streak. So overcoming that obstacle, it’s definitely a sign that my tennis is progressing and I’m able to push those players.”

On Saturday, Tsitsipas was one point from trailing the in-form Italian Jannik Sinner by a double break in the third set of their semi-final. The Greek explained that topping off his Sinner victory with the performance he produced against a clay-court stalwart like Casper Ruud in the final shows where his level is.

“It’s definitely a sign that I’m there and the consistency’s showing, and definitely I’m capable of big things. I just need to keep an open mind, keep improving, because if you don’t improve, things tend to fluctuate and not quite go towards the same path that I’m building towards,” Tsitsipas said. “I saw a few things today I feel like I can improve on. I usually say that perhaps after losses, but even after wins there is plenty to learn from. What I can take from that is there are a few bits and pieces that I can add to my game that can help me even better.”

On his triumph against Sinner, the first-placed player in the PIF ATP Live Race To Turin, Tsitsipas added: “He’s a much better player now than he was back then. And I saw it the other day, he was pushing me to my limits, and I had to reach a level of physicality that I haven’t felt myself before in a long time.

“So it was very small margins that played an important role in the development of that match. I do believe he’s one of the favourites during the entire clay-court swing.”

Tsitsipas lost just five games in the final against Ruud, but the champion was clear that it was not an easy clash against the two-time Roland Garros finalist.

“The first set might have shown that it was easy, but in my mind, I knew that there was a battle there. Perhaps when the set finished, I was like, ‘Okay, the score is different to what I feel on court’. It was 6-1, which is a good set for me,” Tsitsipas said. “But at the same time, I knew that this opponent is not going to play any worse than he did in the first set, [and] it’s not easy as well to maintain my level at that level that I maintained it in the first set, so I have to be careful, I have to be going through the motions and the tactical changes that my opponent might impose.”

After a slow start to 2024 and falling outside the world’s Top 10, how much did Tsitsipas need a week like this?

“A lot. I did need a week like this a lot, especially the rough months that I have been through the last half of 2023 until now. It hasn’t been the best of times in terms of where I wanted to be, so getting back here and winning the title is something that I was definitely not aiming for and it came naturally,” Tsitsipas said. “Winning this tournament three times is something I would have never imagined. Even when I first got it the first time, I obviously thought it was a great feeling and that place is special towards me.

“But getting the Holy Trinity, as I call it, is something that I will fully cherish it and take the most out of this moment.”

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