Stefanos Tsitsipas On Why He Returned To His Old Ways During 2020 - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas On Why He Returned To His Old Ways During 2020

The world No.5 spoke to reporters ahead of his campaign at the Vienna Open.



As the ATP Tour approaches the end of what has been a turbulent season marred by COVID-19 Stefanos Tsitsipas has a testing time ahead of him.

The 22-year-old Greek sensation will return to action this week in Vienna for the first time since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the French Open. He is one of six top 10 players featuring in this year’s star-studded draw where he will make his debut in the event. At stake is a chance for him to win his sixth ATP title and his first at a 500 event.

“I would like a title and play good tennis. I’m happy when I see myself playing good tennis,” Tsitsipas said of his year-end objectives during a virtual press conference on Monday.

Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, Tsitsipas is hoping to continue what has mainly been a successful year for him where he has won 27 out of 37 matches played on the Tour so far. Although there have also been the inevitable blips with him losing to Borna Coric after having a two-set lead at the US Open followed by a second round loss to Jannik Sinner at the Italian Open.

Speaking out about the brief spell of patchy play, the world No.5 explained that he went through a stage of trial and error where he tried to add new elements to his game. An approach that ended up being short lived.

“It was a period where I was trying and testing new things,” he said. “I just happened to try these new things during the US Open swing and Rome. Then I went back to my old ways and I started feeling more comfortable and confident on the court after that.”

Although to every drawback is a silver lining for Tsitsipas who says he has learned a lot since lifting the biggest title of his career so far last November. At the ATP Finals in London he defeated Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem en route to the trophy. Since then his only other triumph occurred at an ATP 250 event in Marseille, France.

“A lot of things have changed (since the ATP Finals). I think I’ve grown up and faced pain on and off the court. So there were a lot of lessons to be taken and I had a lot of matches since that time but not as many as I hoped to have due to COVID,” he reflected.

Unlike Vienna this week, there are currently no plans to allow fans to the season finale in accordance with local COVID-19 regulations. Although Tsitsipas has insisted that it will have no impact on his performance. Last year the ATP Finals attracted 242,883 fans to The O2 across the eight days of competition.

“It will be sad that we won’t have spectators but that won’t stop me from playing good tennis and wanting to repeat the same thing as last year.”

The immediate focus is on Vienna this week where Tsitsipas will start against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Somebody who he has previously experienced difficulty against with their head-to-head tied at 2-2. Three out of their four meetings have gone the full distance with Tsitsipas winning their most recent clash in Dubai earlier this year.

“Right now, I’m not thinking about the ATP Finals. I’m focusing [on] this week and then next week in Bercy. I feel like these are tournaments that I can do better [at] this year and have a better version of Stefanos on the court, so I’m glad that I’m here,” he said.
“I’m glad that we get to play these tournaments given the current state of the world.”

Tsitsipas is the third seed in Vienna.


Rafael Nadal To Play Laver Cup In Berlin



Rafael Nadal has eased speculation that he might be retiring from the sport soon after signing on to play in the Laver Cup later this year. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion is the latest player to join the line-up for this year’s team competition which features Europe taking on the rest of the world over three days. It will be Nadal’s fourth appearance in the competition and his first since 2022. He competed in the inaugural edition of the event back in 2017 alongside co-founder Roger Federer. 

“I am very happy to be playing Laver Cup in Berlin for Team Europe,” Nadal said in a press release. “I have some really special memories from my Laver Cup experiences, including all the emotions from London two years ago playing alongside Roger for the last time.”

Nadal’s decision to play comes amid questions about his future in the sport. The former world No.1 has previously indicated that this year could be his last on the Tour but he has stated that no decision has been made. In recent months he has been sidelined from action due to injury setbacks and has only been able to play in two tournaments so far this year. 

“At this stage in my career I really want to go out there and make the most of every opportunity I am given,” he explains.
“Teaming up is always an incredible experience and I have always enjoyed it, the competition is different and exciting. I’m looking forward to going to Berlin and helping Team Europe win back the Laver Cup.”

Other European players confirmed to be playing are Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul have agreed to play for Team World. This year’s event will be held in Belin at the Uber Arena between September 20-22. 

The Laver Cup was inspired by golf’s Ryder Cup. It was co-founded by Federer’s Team8 management company (which he formed with agent Tony Godsick), businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann and Tennis Australia. In 2019 it became an official ATP sanction event and now has a place on the official calendar. 

Nadal is set to return to competitive action at the Madrid Masters which he has won on five previous occasions. He has been drawn to play teenage wild card Darwin Blanch in the first round. If he wins, Nadal will then play Alex de Minaur who knocked him out of the Barcelona Open last week. 

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence



Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils



Gael Monfils (image via

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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