Stefanos Tsitsipas wants ‘attention to detail’ to finally lead to first Grand Slam win

The Greek has been tipped as the heir apparent to the long-standing trio who have dominated the men’s game

Karolos Grohmann
Thursday 19 May 2022 08:58
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Stefanos Tsitsipas came mighty close to winning his first Grand Slam title at last year’s French Open and few would bet against the Greek stylist going one better this time.

The world number four has been spoken of as a Grand Slam champion since he burst onto the scene in 2018 and his love of clay makes Roland Garros perhaps his best shot.

His last three titles have all been on the red dirt, including the title in Monte Carlo this year, and he made the final in Rome this month, losing out to Novak Djokovic, the man who edged him out in last year’s French Open final.

With 13-time champion Rafael Nadal nursing a chronic foot injury, claycourt specialist Dominic Thiem struggling with his comeback from injury and world number two Daniil Medvedev only just back from a hernia operation, Tsitsipas will rightly be regarded as one of the favourites.

His biggest rivals, apart from Nadal, will be Djokovic, hunting a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam to match Nadal, and Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who cruised to victory in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid in a meteoric 2022 rise for the 19-year-old.

“Right now, Carlos Alcaraz or Novak Djokovic,” Tsitsipas said of the favourites for Paris. “They both play great, great tennis. I would put them as favourites.”

Both have beaten Tsitsipas this year and Djokovic, who eased past him in the final in Rome last week in straight sets, also came from two sets down last year to overpower the Greek in a thrilling French Open final.

“There are things that didn’t work for me after two-sets-to-love up in Roland Garros,” Tsitsipas said.

“I guess I was always pretty stubborn, didn’t want to change because so far it was working for me, the thing that led me to being two sets to love up.”

It is exactly that mental aspect that Tsitsipas will need to harden if he is to conquer the Grand Slams.

Apart from last year’s maiden Grand Slam final, the 23-year-old has also made three semi-finals at the Australian Open.

While he will have many more opportunities, Tsitsipas also knows that he will need to up his game to stop a new generation led by Alcaraz from jumping the queue.

“Right now, I need to improve a few things in my game. I don’t know if I’m going to get there but I hope I do with my hard work by the time Roland Garros begins,” he said.

“I would love myself to get around with these players and be there with them. But I will really need to put a bit more attention to detail in the next couple of weeks.”

Reuters

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