ATP

Tsitsipas: I'm really close to winning a grand slam

By Sports Desk November 18, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas believes he is "really close" to winning a grand slam after his ATP Finals success on Sunday.

The Greek, 21, became the youngest player to win the ATP Finals since 2001 after a thrilling 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) victory over Dominic Thiem in London.

Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open this year, feels a major success is not far away, with Wimbledon a goal.

"For sure Wimbledon is the tournament that has a lot of tradition. I think most of the players if you ask would want to win Wimbledon, but for me any grand slam would be great," he told a news conference.

"I feel like my game is getting better over time. I believe I'm really close on being crowned a grand slam champion. I know these are strong words that I say but I do feel like I belong to be there.

"I'm competing against some of the best players in the world and the amount of effort and the amount of work I put [in] every day deserves to have an outcome like this."

While Tsitsipas and Thiem reached the final in London, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic won two grand slams each in 2019.

The 'Big Three' of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer have won 55 grand slams since 2003, including the past 12, and Tsitsipas is aware of the huge challenge awaiting the next generation.

"The thing that we have, the 'Big Three' dominating in the grand slams the last couple of years makes it really difficult for us because someone needs to get the job done to defeat them [in the] early rounds because once they get deep into a tournament they tend, as we saw, over the years to get better and play better, feel better," he said.

"For me, that's a really difficult task to do, for players to be able to beat them in these grand slams because it's a best-of-five format and this gives them more chances to stay in the match.

"It's not a best of three. If things were best of three it could have been much more different when it comes to grand slam champions over the years.

"So, that's an issue because they have been sharing how many grand slams? I don't know, 60 something?

"And for the young guys, it's all about time. I don't know. We'll either have to beat them or wait for them."

Related items

  • Djokovic set to match Sampras record after victory over Coric in Vienna Djokovic set to match Sampras record after victory over Coric in Vienna

    Novak Djokovic will almost certainly finish the year at the top of the ATP world rankings for a joint-record sixth time after he claimed a hard-fought win over Borna Coric at the Vienna Open. 

    Djokovic needed to win just two matches in Austria to guarantee he will end the year as world number one, unless Rafael Nadal takes up an unlikely wildcard for the Sofia Open. 

    After defeating Filip Krajinovic in the first round, Djokovic took a vital step towards cementing his name in the record books with a 7-6 (13-11) 6-3 victory over Coric on Wednesday. 

    Pete Sampras is the only previous player to have claimed the year-end number one spot on six occasions, doing so between 1993 and 1998. 

    Djokovic is tied with fellow modern greats Rodger Federer and Nadal, who the Serbian lost to in the French Open earlier in October, and Jimmy Connors, but is now set to nose ahead of his rivals, having previously secured top spot in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018. 

    His latest win did not come easy, though, with the 33-year-old made to work by world number 24 Coric. 

    The pair traded blows in an epic opening set which lasted just under two hours – Djokovic eventually coming out on top in a thrilling tie-break after Coric dropped serve for a third time. 

    A first break in set two handed Djokovic the advantage and he then held his nerve to take the eighth game with some wonderful shots in an exhilarating rally, making it 5-3. 

    Djokovic's sublime volley close to the net set the tone in the next game and while Coric saved two match points, it was only a case of delaying the inevitable.

    Earlier, Stefanos Tsitsipas opted to switch his shoe in the third set of his match with Jan-Lennard Struff, though the third seed ultimately came through the contest to tee up a tie with Grigor Dimitrov. 

    With the third set tied at 1-1, Nitto ATP Finals champion Tsitsipas changed his footwear and subsequently broke serve, going on to record a 6-7 (7-3) 6-3 6-4 triumph. 

    Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, is enjoying the hospitality in Austria as he eased past Jason Jung 6-3 6-1 in his first-round match. 

    "It's great. The hotel is good, the food is amazing, maybe the best of the year," said the world number six. 

    "These small things make tennis players happy all the time. The most important is to play good on the tennis court, so the organisation is very good."

  • Djokovic battles past compatriot Krajinovic in Vienna Djokovic battles past compatriot Krajinovic in Vienna

    Novak Djokovic battled to a straight-sets win over compatriot Filip Krajinovic in the opening round of the Vienna Open. 

    The world number one, competing in the Austrian event for the first time since winning it in 2007, saved a set point in a tie-break during the opener on his way to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 triumph. 

    He had to work hard as Krajinovic, who lost to Djokovic in last month's Italian Open at the last-16 stage, twice broke serve in a tight opener, helping establish a 5-3 lead at one point. 

    Djokovic hit back in the 10th game to break his opponent for a second time as the opener went to a tie-break, which he edged 8-6 after Krajinovic failed to convert an opportunity when 6-5 up. 

    The second set was far more straightforward for the 33-year-old, however, as he held serve throughout and broke Krajinovic once to progress through.

    "We practiced a few times [together] before coming to Vienna," Djokovic revealed in his on-court interview. 

    "The draw was tough for us to face each other, but there is always extra pressure and importance to a match when you play someone that you know very well."

    Borna Coric is up next for Djokovic after the world number 26 beat Taylor Fritz on the opening day of action. 

    Elsewhere on Tuesday, Grigor Dimitrov held off fellow top-20 player Karen Khachanov 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in a competitive match, while Hubert Hurkacz beat Attila Balazs in straight sets. 

    Dan Evans also advanced to the last 16, where Jurij Rodionov awaits, after Aljaz Bedene withdrew with a thigh complaint when a set down.

  • Ruthless Rublev cruises in Vienna as Shapovalov and injured Monfils crash out Ruthless Rublev cruises in Vienna as Shapovalov and injured Monfils crash out

    Andrey Rublev's quest for a third title since the US Open began in solid fashion as he comfortably saw off Norbert Gombos in straight sets on day one of the star-studded Vienna Open.

    Fifth-seed Rublev, victorious in Hamburg and St Petersburg in recent weeks, was the highest-ranked player in action on Monday and never looked in any danger of being on the wrong end of an upset, coming through 6-3 6-2.

    He broke Gombos in the second game of the match and did not have to save any break points in return across the entire contest.

    Gombos dropped his serve again early in the second and that effectively doomed him, as Rublev – who is closing in one of the last two spots at the ATP Finals – cruised to victory. Casper Ruud or Jannik Sinner await in the last 16.

    Gael Monfils' hopes of reaching the season-ending tournament took a hit, however, as injury forced him to bow out while 6-1 2-0 down to Pablo Carreno-Busta, who is also in with an outside chance of qualifying.

    Eighth-seed Denis Shapovalov crashed out 6-4 7-5 to wildcard Jurij Rodionov, while Borna Coric beat Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-4. He will face either world number one Novak Djokovic or Filip Krajinovic.

    Among the other big names competing in Austria are Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.