Stefanos Tsitsipas likes to live in the moment.
When Tennis United caught up with him last month in Antwerp and asked him about his long-term career goals, the 25-year-old from Greece laughed and said, “I just want to qualify for the [Nitto] ATP Finals in Turin – soon.”
It took three tournaments, but after reaching the semifinals in both Antwerp and Vienna, he locked down the No. 6 spot en route to the semifinals of the Rolex Paris Masters. It validated his decision to focus more attention on his attacking game, the ability to become more abrupt, more sudden in the process of constructing points.
Always one of the more thoughtful players on Tour, Tsitsipas held court on a number of issues:
TU: You made the finals of the Australian Open and Barcelona and won the title in Los Cabos. How are you feeling about your 2023 season?
Tsitsipas: Not too bad, except Australia. I have a few good moments this year but overall, look, I probably had a bigger expectation for my consistency. But this is the sport, I’m always willing to keep going and see what works the next few weeks. I’m still there. So I will still take it. My goal when I play a tournament, I try to do my best.
“There are not any moments where I give less than others. For me, that’s something that I grew up with. I like the competitiveness of it and the challenge to get those spots. It’s very challenging and not many players have the privilege of doing that. I want to be one of those that shine at the end of the year and get what I worked hard for the entire year.
TU: With the Big Three for the moment down to Novak Djokovic, how would you describe the landscape at the top of men’s tennis with the younger guys coming up?
Tsitsipas: The landscape is pretty wide spread out, there are so many of them. And I spoke about it three, four years ago. It’s going to be like this. And now we can experience this diversity and openness that it gives.
“It’s interesting, because tennis has not had an experience like this in a long time. We’ve had the Big Three and now it’s this different age where a lot of them are competing for the same prizes and big trophies and tournaments. And it’s rich in variety.
TU: Even though you’re only 25, does it make you feel old?
Tsitsipas: Not really, not necessarily. Because you see players like Novak Djokovic, they are at their prime in a way at the age they are now . It gives you hope that you, yourself, can be there at his age, and achieve the same things and have this long-lasting career, a healthy one as well, without a lot of injuries and physical problems.
“It gives you this hope, that this is do-able, this is possible. The more the years advance, the more medicine advances, you feel like you will have bigger chances and more time for your career.
It’s interesting where this is headed. Because there’s been a rise in the past 10 to 20 years. Careers were once shorter. Today it seems like you can still be playing the best of your best in your mid-to-late-30s.
Credit: Tennis United