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Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greek: Στέφανος Τσιτσιπάς, pronounced [ˈstefanos t͡sit͡siˈpas];[2] born 12 August 1998) is a Greek professional tennis player. He is the youngest player ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and has a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history. He has won three ATP singles titles and reached seven finals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas - Washington Open 2018.jpg
Tsitsipas at the 2018 Washington Open
Country (sports) Greece
ResidenceMonte Carlo, Monaco[1]
Born (1998-08-12) 12 August 1998 (age 21)
Athens, Greece
Height1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Turned pro2016
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
CoachApostolos Tsitsipas
Patrick Mouratoglou (2018-)
Prize moneyUS$6,177,147
Official websitestsitsipas.com
Singles
Career record87–56 (60.8% in ATP World Tour and Grand Slam main draw matches, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles3
Highest rankingNo. 5 (5 August 2019)
Current rankingNo. 7 (9 September 2019)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenSF (2019)
French Open4R (2019)
Wimbledon4R (2018)
US Open2R (2018)
Doubles
Career record10–18 (35.7% in ATP World Tour and Grand Slam main draw matches, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles0
Highest rankingNo. 68 (19 August 2019)
Current rankingNo. 73 (9 September 2019)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon1R (2018)
US Open2R (2018)
Team competitions
Hopman CupRR (2019)
Last updated on: 11 September 2019.

Born into a tennis family where his mother was a professional on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour and his father was trained as a tennis coach, Tsitsipas was introduced to the sport at age three and began taking lessons at age six. As a junior, he was ranked No. 1 in the world. He also became the third Greek player, and first Greek male in the Open Era, to win a junior Grand Slam title with a victory in the 2016 Wimbledon boys' doubles event.

Tsitsipas won his first ATP match in late 2017 and quickly ascended up the ATP rankings the following year. He reached three tour-level finals in 2018 and won his first title at the Stockholm Open. With his runner-up finish at the Canadian Open, he became the youngest player to defeat four top ten opponents in a single tournament. After culminating his season with an exhibition title at the Next Gen Finals, Tsitsipas continued to build on his success by reaching the semifinals at the 2019 Australian Open.

Contents

Early life and backgroundEdit

Tsitsipas was born to Apostolos Tsitsipas and Julia Apostoli (née Salnikova) in Athens. His father is Greek and his mother is Russian. Both of his parents are experienced tennis players, and his mother in particular was a world No. 1 junior who had a career-high professional ranking inside the top 200 and represented the Soviet Union in Fed Cup.[3] His parents had been working as tennis instructors at the Astir Palace resort hotel in Vouliagmeni at the time of his birth.[4] They originally met at a WTA tournament in Athens where his mother was competing and his father was a line judge.[5] Stefanos has three younger siblings Petros, Pavlos (Paul), and Elisavet, all of whom are also tennis players.[6]

With their strong backgrounds in tennis, Tsitsipas's parents got their oldest son started on tennis at a very young age. Stefanos has said, "My first memory is to be three and to hit balls with my father in the gap between lessons. I remember watching games on TV, as a baby, I can not tell you who was playing, but I remember watching."[5] He also participated in other sports as a kid, including football and swimming. His father said Stefanos made the decision to become a tennis player himself, recalling that his son "woke up in the middle of the night" after a tournament in France at age nine and told him "Dad, I have to tell you something: I want to become a tennis player, I like the competition, I like the challenge."[7][8]

Tsitsipas began taking lessons at Tennis Club Glyfada near Athens at the age of six, and has long since continued to train there.[5][9] His father has always served as his primary coach, and he formally studied tennis coaching at the University of Athens to help train his children.[3][8][9] In 2015, Tsitsipas also began training at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy, splitting time between France and Greece during this period.[10][11][12]

Junior careerEdit

 
Tsitsipas at the 2015 US Open

Tsitsipas is a former world No. 1 junior.[13] He began playing on the ITF junior circuit in 2013 at the age of 14. He did not play in any high-level Grade A tournaments until the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in November 2014, but was able to make it all the way to the final of his second career Grade A event at the Orange Bowl a month later.[13][14] Tsitsipas had entered the tournament ranked outside of the top 100 in the junior rankings.[15] In 2015, Tsitsipas got his first opportunity to play in the junior Grand Slam tournaments. In these four events, a quarterfinal at the Australian Open was his best result.[13] He did not win any singles finals that year, but he did have another runner-up finish at the Orange Bowl, this time losing to Miomir Kecmanović in a third set tiebreak.[13][16] He finished the season as the No. 14 ranked junior in the world.[17]

In 2016, Tsitsipas had a breakout year, reaching at least the quarterfinals of all eight tournaments that he played, including all four Grand Slams.[13] He became the top-ranked junior in the world after winning his first Grade A title at the Trofeo Bonfiglio.[18] Tsitsipas also won the European Junior Championships later in the year.[19] Tsitsipas's biggest title of the season came in doubles, when he partnered with Estonian player Kenneth Raisma to win his only junior Grand Slam event at Wimbledon.[20] He became the first male Greek to win a junior Grand Slam in the Open Era, and the second overall after Nicky Kalogeropoulos won both the French Open and Wimbledon in 1963.[5] Besides his doubles triumph, Tsitsipas also had his two best finishes in the Grand Slam singles events that year, making the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the US Open.[21][22] He ended the year as the No. 2 ranked junior in the world, behind only Kecmanović who had played several more events.[23]

Professional careerEdit

2013–17: Top 100, ATP semifinal, top 10 victoryEdit

 
Tsitsipas with the runner-up trophy at the 2017 Brest Challenger

Tsitsipas began playing low-level ITF Futures events in Greece in 2013 shortly after turning 15, not long after he started competing on the junior tour.[24] He qualified for his first event on the ATP Challenger Tour at the Burnie International in early 2015 while still 16 years old, but lost his only main draw match to Benjamin Mitchell.[25] Tsitsipas won his first Futures title later that year and would go on to win a total of eleven such titles, five in singles and six in doubles, through the end of 2016.[24] He also won his first Challenger match near the end of 2015 in Mohammedia in Morocco.[25] Tsitsipas returned to Morocco a year later and reached his first two Challenger finals in back-to-back weeks at Mohammedia and Casablanca.[26] This success in Africa helped him crack the top 200 later that October.[27] Towards the end of that month, Tsitsipas was granted a qualifying wild card into the Swiss Indoors in Basel, his first ATP Tour appearance. He defeated Rajeev Ram in the opening round, but was unable to qualify after a loss to Robin Haase.[28]

Tsitsipas played in his first ATP main draw at the 2017 Rotterdam Open, where he lost his debut match to the eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.[29] He also made his Grand Slam debut later that year as a qualifier at the French Open, but lost to Ivo Karlović in his first match.[30] After losing in qualifying at the US Open, Tsitsipas won his first Challenger title in Genoa.[31] Overall, he qualified for a tour-best eight events during the season, including Wimbledon and the Shanghai Masters.[30] However, he did not win a tour-level match until the very end of the season when he defeated fellow Next Gen player Karen Khachanov in Shanghai.[32] At the European Open in Belgium the following week, Tsitsipas reached his first ATP semifinal as a qualifier. During the event, he upset hometown favorite and world No. 10 David Goffin for his first career top 10 victory.[32] With this run, Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to be ranked in the top 100 of the ATP rankings, accomplishing the feat at the age of 19. He also reached a high enough ranking to be named an alternate for the Next Gen ATP Finals.[33][34][35] Tsitsipas closed out the season with another Challenger final, this time in Brest.[36]

2018: Breakthrough, Masters final, Next Gen Finals titleEdit

 
Tsitsipas playing at the 2018 Washington Open

Tsitsipas started the year at the Qatar Open where he lost in the quarterfinals to world No. 5 Dominic Thiem, again as a qualifier.[37] After losing in the opening round in his Australian Open debut, his best result in the rest of the early-year hard court season was another quarterfinal at the Dubai Tennis Championships.[38][39] During the clay court season, after qualifying for the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 tournament, beating Denis Shapolapov and then losing to sixth seed David Goffin, Tsitsipas's first breakthrough of the year came at the Barcelona Open, where he reached his first career ATP final without dropping a set. During the ATP 500 Series tournament, he defeated three top 20 players including No. 7 Thiem, before losing to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in a lopsided match. With this result, Tsitsipas moved into the top 50 and became the second Greek to reach an ATP final after Nicky Kalogeropoulos in 1973.[40] His performance also gained national attention in Greece, where tennis is not a widely popular sport.[41][4] The following week at the Estoril Open, he reached another semifinal. He also picked up a third career top ten victory over No. 8 Kevin Anderson.[42]

After losing in the first or second rounds of the Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome, Tsitsipas closed out the clay court season by winning his first career Grand Slam match at the French Open against Carlos Taberner before losing to Thiem, the eventual runner-up.[3] He played the next Grand Slam at Wimbledon seeded for first time at No. 31.[43] He took advantage of the seed and produced his best result at a major tournament at the time, a fourth round loss to No. 10 John Isner.[44][45] Tsitsipas had his second big breakthrough of the year in the lead up to the US Open. After reaching the semifinals in Washington,[46] he reached his second final of the season and first career Masters final at the Canadian Open. During the tournament, he became the youngest player to record four top ten wins in a single event, defeating No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 10 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Alexander Zverev, and No. 6 Kevin Anderson in succession. He also saved match points in the latter two matches.[47][48] Tsitsipas lost the final to Nadal on his 20th birthday in a closer match than their first encounter. He also climbed to No. 15 in the world.[48][49]

At the US Open, Tsitsipas made his main draw debut, but was upset in the second round by fellow Next Gen player Daniil Medvedev.[50] He cited fatigue as a factor in the loss and proceeded to exit before the quarterfinals at three of his next four tournaments as well.[51][52] However, Tsitsipas was able to recover at the Stockholm Open. Playing as the third seed, he defeated second seed and No. 14 Fabio Fognini in the semifinals before winning in the final against veteran qualifier Ernests Gulbis. With the victory, he became the first Greek player to win an ATP title.[53] Tsitsipas closed out his season at the Next Gen ATP Finals. He was the top seed at the event and was drawn with Frances Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz, and Jaume Munar. Tsitsipas swept his group and defeated Andrey Rublev to advance to the final against second seed Alex de Minaur.[54][55] He defeated de Minaur in four sets to win the Next Gen Finals.[56] At the end of the year, Tsitsipas was named the ATP Most Improved Player for his breakthrough season.[57]

2019: Australian Open semifinal, second Masters final, top 5Edit

 
Tsitsipas at the 2019 Sydney International

Tsitsipas began the season at the Hopman Cup alongside Maria Sakkari, making them the first team to represent Greece at the event in 17 years.[58] They finished in a three-way tie for first in their round-robin group, having won their ties against the United States and Switzerland after being upset in their opening tie against Great Britain.[59] They were ranked second on the tiebreak criteria and did not advance out of the group. Tsitsipas's only singles win was against Frances Tiafoe, while one of his losses was against Roger Federer.[60][61] At the Australian Open, Tsitsipas reached his first major semifinal, despite having won just five Grand Slam singles matches in total the previous year. All five of his wins at the event came in four sets.[24] He upset world No. 3 Roger Federer in the fourth round, saving all twelve of the break points he faced in a rematch of their Hopman Cup encounter earlier in the month.[62] After continuing his run against Roberto Bautista Agut, he easily lost to No. 2 Rafael Nadal, only winning six games.[63][64] Nonetheless, his performance helped him climb to a career-best ranking of No. 12 in the world to become the highest-ranked Greek player in history.[65]

Tsitsipas built on his Grand Slam success by reaching two finals in February in back-to-back weeks. He won his second career title at the Open 13 in Marseille over Mikhail Kukushkin[66] before finishing runner-up to Federer at the Dubai Tennis Championships. His performance in Dubai put him in the top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time.[67] Tsitsipas closed out the early year hard court season with a career-best result in doubles, finishing runner-up to the Bryan brothers at the Miami Open with Wesley Koolhof.[68] A month later, he won his first career clay court title at the Estoril Open after defeating Pablo Cuevas in the final.[69] He reached a second successive clay court final at the Madrid Open, only to lose to Novak Djokovic, after defeating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.[70]. He reached the semifinals at the Italian Open, but this time he lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. As the 6th seed, Tsitsipas reached the last 16 at the French Open before losing to 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a 5 set thriller lasting over 5 hours.[71][72]

Tsitsipas struggled to find his form throughout the grass court season and consequently exited Wimbledon after losing his first round match against Thomas Fabbiano.[73] His poor form continued into the North American summer hard court season as he lost his opening match at both Masters 1000 events and at the US Open.[74]

Playing styleEdit

 
Tsitsipas serving

Tsitsipas is an aggressive baseliner. He aims to hit powerful groundstroke winners and has a particularly strong forehand using an eastern grip. He also has a big serve and can go to the net more often than typical baseline players.[75] One of his weaknesses is to overhit and make unforced errors while trying to hit winners.[76][77]

Tsitsipas's signature shot is his one-handed backhand, a rarity in modern tennis. He experimented with both one-handed and two-handed backhands in his youth, but chose to go with the former at around eight years old because both of his parents as well as his idol Roger Federer all use a one-handed backhand, and also because it felt more natural. His favorite shot is the backhand down-the-line.[78][79]

Tsitsipas is regarded as having an all-court game.[80][18][75] His favorite surface is grass and Wimbledon is his favorite tournament.[81] Tsitsipas also excels on clay, having grown up playing on that surface in Greece. He has said, "I feel very confident when I step on the dirt. I always show my best tennis on this surface."[12] Tsitsipas has also done well on hard courts, reaching a Masters final and an Australian Open semifinal.[48][64]

Former British No. 1 players Greg Rusedski and Annabel Croft have both praised Tsitsipas's on-court demeanor in conjunction with his style of play. Rusedski in particular has said that "[Tsitsipas] reminds me a little bit of Björn Borg. He does all the right things, he is spectacular as a tennis player and was just sensational with the way he was so calm and composed and he didn't blink when it came to the crunch. He has the competitive nature of Andy Murray, but he also has a calmness which reminds me of Roger Federer."[82]

Personal lifeEdit

Tsitsipas studied at an English-language school as a kid. He can speak English, Greek, and Russian.[9] He is a supporter of Greek football team AEK Athens.[83] Tsitsipas's hobbies include vlogging. He hosts his own YouTube channel where he posts videos of his travels.[84]

Tsitsipas credits his mother's twin sister, who was also a professional tennis player in the Soviet Union, for helping with the family's finances so that he could afford to travel with his father to train and compete during his junior career.[4][85] His maternal grandfather Sergei Salnikov was an Olympic gold medal-winning member of the Soviet national football team and a former manager of FC Spartak Moscow.[3][5]

During a Futures tournament in Crete, Tsitsipas nearly drowned while swimming at sea on an off-day. After a current carried him away from the shore, his father noticed what had happened and helped save his life. He attributes his confident approach of "[feeling] absolutely zero fear on the court" to the perspective he gained from this experience.[12]

Tsitsipas has expressed interest in promoting the sport of tennis in Greece, where he has said "tennis is not very popular."[4] After his finals appearance at the 2018 Barcelona Open, he commented that his success was helping him achieve this goal. Of his performance and the attention it received, he stated, "Many people were talking about [the final] and I had plenty of interviews that I did on big channels in Greece for big media centres. It got people's attention... It makes me motivated to do even better in the future, and become even more popular... I hope to inspire more people to play tennis in Greece."[41]

Career statisticsEdit

Grand Slam tournament performance timelineEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Current through the 2019 Washington Open.[86]

SinglesEdit

Tournament 2016 2017 2018 2019 SR W–L Win%
Grand Slam tournaments[24]
Australian Open A Q2 1R SF 0 / 2 5–2 71%
French Open A 1R 2R 4R 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Wimbledon A 1R 4R 1R 0 / 3 3–3 50%
US Open A Q3 2R 1R 0 / 2 1–2 33%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–2 5–4 8–4 0 / 10 13–10 57%

DoublesEdit

Tournament 2016 2017 2018 2019 SR W–L Win%
Grand Slam tournaments[24]
Australian Open A A A A 0 / 0 0–0  – 
French Open A A A A 0 / 0 0–0  – 
Wimbledon A A 1R A 0 / 1 0–1 0%
US Open A A 2R 0 / 1 1–1 50%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 1–2 0–0 0 / 2 1–2 33%

Masters 1000 finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (2 runners-up)Edit

Result Year Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Loss 2018 Canadian Open Hard   Rafael Nadal 2–6, 6–7(4–7)
Loss 2019 Madrid Open Clay   Novak Djokovic 3–6, 4–6

Doubles: 1 (1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 2019 Miami Open Hard   Wesley Koolhof   Bob Bryan
  Mike Bryan
5–7, 6–7(8–10)

ReferencesEdit

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