Champion in Monte Carlo. Finalist in Barcelona with a match point against Rafael Nadal. A 26-6 record this season. Points leader this year and undisputed candidate to the title at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he was a finalist in the last edition in 2019. These are the credentials of Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fourth seed at the #MMOPEN.
The 22-year-old Greek player is looking to go one step further in Madrid and take the title. Ambitious and very focused on his goal, Tsitsipas arrives at the Caja Mágica highly motivated. “I’m really pumped for this week”, explained the world number five on Media Day. “My expectation, I won’t lie to you, is to come as close to my two year result, which was in the final. I feel like I’m getting close. I feel like I can create opportunities and maybe get to No. 4. It’s something that has been in my mind”, he admitted.
ATP Masters 1000 🏆 2021
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 1, 2021
“I’ve been working hard, I’ve been putting a lot of work in. I feel like it’s my opportunity to do something different”, offered Tsitsipas, who is looking to climb the world ranking. “All these tournaments are important. They carry a lot of points. These tournaments are kind of opportunities for me to pursue something better. Right now I’m in the lead of the Race to Turin, which is very important for me. I want to conserve that and finish the year perhaps in the top three. That would be a good, fair goal for me for this year”.
In 2019, Tsitsipas strung together two spectacular wins in the Manolo Santana Stadium, beating the then defending champion Alexander Zverev in the quarters and Rafa Nadal in the semis. Only world number one Novak Djokovic was able to stop him. Exactly a week ago, in Barcelona, he had a match point in a memorable final against Nadal. He is no longer just a promising player, he has arrived. It is a reality. But the Greek is aware that you have to take risks to beat the best.
What did he learn from his recent defeat to Nadal? “Probably that I will have to go for more at certain times during a match and not wait as much for him to give me something or wait for an opportunity from his side. Sometimes I feel like I was too passive, thinking about it now. I could have risked a bit more. I could have probably done a few more unpredictable things that could have led to something different. That is something that I learned”.
Constantly learning, Tsitsipas -who will open against the winner of the clash between Nikoloz Basilashvili and Benoit Paire- arrives in Madrid in the form of his life. “It’s important to have such an important head start”, he said of his clay swing so far. “Of course, it adds a lot to my confidence and feeling better on court than ever before.”