EXCLUSIVE: Stefanos Tsitsipas On The Journey Towards His ‘Maximum Potential’ - UBITENNIS
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EXCLUSIVE: Stefanos Tsitsipas On The Journey Towards His ‘Maximum Potential’

The world No.9 opens up to Ubitennis following his opening match at the Caja Magica.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo by chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

MADRID: Just minutes after grabbing his opening win at the Madrid Open, eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was already dissecting his performance.

 

Fresh off claiming his third ATP title last week in Estoril, the Greek battled to a 6-2, 7-5, win over world No.56 Adrian Mannarino. Somebody ranked 47 places lower than him in the ATP standings. Claiming his 24th win of the season, which is more than world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the Greek player admits that he still has work to do.

“I felt like I played well, but I haven’t reached my maximum potential yet,” Tsitsipas told Ubitennis. “I really hope I will play a little bit better in my next match.”

Despite being only 20, Tsitsipas is already an icon in Greek tennis. Being the first player from his country to reach the semi-finals of a major and the highest ranked in the history of men’s tennis. Last year in Toronto he defeated four top 10 players on route to the final. Becoming the youngest-ever player to do so since the ATP Tour was introduced back in 1990.

There is no question when it comes to the talent the Next Gen star has. Yet, the refreshing thing is that he is not overpowered by it. Instead, he is both determined and hungry to become an even better player.

“I’m going to build up my confidence and awareness of what I’m capable of doing on a tennis court. I’ve learned a lot today, despite my win. I’m going to try to improve on that and get even better results in my next match.” He said.

Becoming a better player

Tsitsipas’ drive for improvement was partly behind the success in Estoril last week. His start to the clay season was far from perfect. Losing to world No.14 Daniil Medvedev in Monte Carlo and world No.51 Jan-Lennard Struff in Barcelona.

The turning point occurred shortly after Barcelona. Returning back to the drawing board with his father. Both of his parents have a wealth of experience in tennis. Tsitsipas’ mother, Julia Apostoli, is a former world No.1 junior player who represented the Soviet Union.

“I worked with my dad the week before (Estoril). We worked on the courts and there were some micro-adjustments in order to improve my game. To change something that didn’t work the week before.” He explained.
“I’m grateful for that, I’m grateful that we went back to court, worked hours and hours to perfect those things that we didn’t do well.”

Whilst he appreciates the help he has received, it is by no means the end of it. Questioned about the area of his game that needs further improvement, Tsitsipas believes over-thinking is a problem for him on the court. Something he hopes to solve in his third round match in Madrid. Awaiting him will be either Fernando Verdasco or Karen Khachanov.

“I think to be more aggressive and not waiting too much. Sometimes I am thinking too much and in the end, I miss it. I would say there is a lack of indecision.”

The main stage

Like every other player, the ultimate test occurs at the grand slams. The four tournaments with the highest level of prize money, ranking points, and significance in the sport. The next major will be at Roland Garros. Coincidentally the place where Tsitsipas made his debut in the main draw of a major back in 2017.

He has already illustrated his threat in the premier tournaments. Stunning Roger Federer on route to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas continues to take a backseat to the Big Four on the tour. Although he is getting ready to pounce like a lion when the opportunity beckons.

“I think it’s all a matter of time. Having players like Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, I’m definitely happy to see how they perform (in the majors) and it will give me confidence and belief that I can do the same.” He explains.
“So it’s just a matter of time before I’m playing my best tennis. It’s very much related to my confidence as well.”

Overall, Tsitsipas boasts a winning record of 10-7 in the main draws of grand slam tournaments.

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Rafael Nadal Hoping Coronavirus Will Not Spoil His Olympic Dreams

The 19-time grand slam champion speaks out about the worldwide outbreak.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has said he is hopeful that a remedy can be found to contain the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak in order to stop what he describes as ‘fear’ erupting.

 

Several countries have declared major medical emergencies in order to tackle the illness, which also goes by the name of Covid 19. It is believed to have originated in China, where the most infections and deaths from the illness have been recorded. However, Iran is also struggling with an outbreak, Italy has quantified 11 towns, Saudi Arabia is preventing foreign pilgrims from entering their country and Japan has closed schools.

Coronavirus has also had an impact on various tennis events with a string of Chinese ITF and Challenger events cancelled. Meanwhile on Sunday, the final of the ATP Bergamo Open in Italy was cancelled due to concerns. Making it the first time an European event has been impacted by the threat posed by Coronavirus.

“I hope it is controlled, that a remedy is found and this uncertainty is stopped, this psychosis, this fear. It is the most important thing, not only for the Olympic Games, but for humanity, “ Nadal commented on the issue following his second round win at the Mexican Open.

One of the biggest sporting events is also under threat – the Olympic Games. This year’s edition will be held in Tokyo, Japan. IOC council member Dick Pound has recently said the sporting event will be cancelled if there is ‘world health at stake.’ The World Health Organisation is currently working with Olympic organizers, who are keen to empathise that they have no intention of cancelling the event.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Committee chief executive Toshiro Muto recently told Japanese reporters.
“For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Nadal is one of many tennis players hoping to win a gold medal later this year. The Spaniard is already a three-time Olympic after competing in 2004, 2008 and 2016. He has previously won two gold medals. Claiming the singles title in 2008 and the doubles trophy alongside Marc Lopez in 2016.

“Regarding the Olympic Games, to say that it is one of the most special events in the world. It is a unique experience to be there and I consider it the most difficult tournament to win because you only have two or three chances in your career, “ Nadal commented.

The Olympic tennis tournament will get underway on July 25th. It will be held at the Ariake Coliseum.

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Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Dubai for the ninth time in his career

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Novak Djokovic cruised past Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-2 in one hour and six minutes to reach the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament for the ninth time in his career.

 

Djokovic dropped 13 points in eight service game and converted on five of his nine break points. He dropped his serve only once in the first set.

Djokovic held serve with a drop shot winner in the third game and broke serve at love with a forehand return down the line winner in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. The 2020 Australian Open champion held his serve with a drop shot winner in the third game and broke serve at love with a return down the line winner.

Djokovic held serve at love with a volley winner to consolidate the break. The Serbian player went up a double break earning his chance to serve for the set, as Khachanov netted a backhand in the sixth game. Khachanov pulled one break back after a forehand error from Djokovic, as the Serb failed to convert a set point in the next game. Djokovic got another break in the eighth game to clinch the opening set 6-2 on his third set point in 32 minutes, as Khachanov hit a backhand into the net.

Khachanov fended off a break point in the second game of the second set before Djokovic earned a break at love in the fourth game with a lob. Djokovic sealed the second set with another break at 5-2.

“I don’t know if I am playing the best tennis of my career. That’s a big statement, but I am feeling and playing well.  I like the conditions, but in windy conditions it’s not easy to serve and find rhythm. I know it wasn’t Karen’s day, but I think I played a very solid match. I am trying to be in the present and execute my game plan”, said Djokovic.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his second consecutive semifinal in Dubai

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Last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from one set down to beat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-4 6-4 reaching the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the second consecutive year.

 

Struff earned three set points at 5-4 in the opening set. Tsitsipas recovered to 30-40, as Struff hit two forehands into the net. The German player converted his third break point chance to win the first set 6-4 after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas earned an early break in the first game of the second set, as Struff hit a forehand long at 15-40. Tsitsipas rallied from 15-40 down, when he was serving for the second set at 5-4, and converted his second set point with a forehand down the line winner.

Struff fended off four break points in the first game of the decisive set. Tsitsipas earned the decisive break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 and sealed the win on his first match point. Tsitsipas will face Daniel Evans, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-2 7-6 (11-9).

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