After breaking into the ATP’s Top 15 in August on the day after his 20th birthday, Greek phenom Stefanos Tsitsipas’ second career Masters 1000 final run has propelled him to a new career high of No. 7.
At last week's Madrid Open, he won back-to-back three-setters, against Alex Zverev and Rafael Nadal, to reach his seventh ATP final. He was turned back Sunday by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who heaped praise on his young opponent’s game and personality, forecasting a bright future for the rising star in his post-match remarks.
Against both Zverev and Nadal, Tsitsipas won a high-quality first set before surrendering his advantage in set two. The Greek recovered to dominate both final sets, winning by a two-break margin on each occasion.
The 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 quarterfinal against Zverev marked Tsitsipas’ second straight Masters quarterfinal triumph over the German. In dismissing five-time Madrid champ Nadal, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, he gained a measure of revenge over the King of Clay, after dropping all seven sets they previously contested.
Here’s more on the youngest member of the ATP’s Top 20, and the highest-ranked Greek player in tennis history.
The Stefanos Tsitsipas File
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Current Ranking: 7
Career-High Ranking: 7 (May 2019)
Best US Open Finish: Round 2 (2018)
- Tsitsipas turned pro in 2016, a year in which he also achieved the world No. 1 junior ranking. His junior career came to a close at the 2016 US Open, when he fell to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semis as the tournament’s top seed. Partnering with Estonia’s Kenneth Raisma, Tsitsipas won the 2016 Wimbledon boys' doubles title.
- His steady climb up the ATP Rankings accelerated in 2018. Tsitsipas contested his first ATP final in Barcelona in April and reached the Wimbledon Round of 16 in July, but he truly announced himself at the Rogers Cup in August. In Toronto, the Greek navigated past Dominic Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev and Kevin Anderson to reach his first Masters final.
- He would go on to make his US Open men’s singles debut as the No. 15 seed, falling to Daniil Medvedev in four second-round sets. At No. 15, Tsitsipas was the highest-seeded US Open debutant since a 19-year-old Richard Gasquet entered the 2005 event seeded 13th.
- After being dominated by Nadal in his first two ATP finals, Tsitsipas finished the job at the Stockholm Open in October, defeating Ernests Gulbis for his first title.
- The Greek, who models his all-court game after Roger Federer, was in dreamland after beating the Swiss at the 2019 Australian Open. “My idol today became pretty much my rival,” Tsitsipas said after the victory. He would go on to reach the semis in Melbourne, losing to Nadal for the third time in their three career meetings. Often praised for his problem-solving ability and tactical nous, Tsitsipas learned from those losses to the Spaniard and devised a winning strategy in Madrid.
They Said It!
“You cannot imagine the relief. It's unbelievable. I don't want to say this, but it almost felt like I lost hope at some point. It was three [losses to Nadal] in a row … Really happy that I overcame this and dealt with it mentally. Beating him on clay makes it even more special.” —Tsitsipas reflected on his semifinal victory over Nadal in a post-match press conference in Madrid.