Road to Boston: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Team Europe
Already the greatest Greek player in history, it can be quite the burden to bear for 23-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas.
But after another standout season consolidating his place among the sport’s elite, the entertaining star takes it all in his stride as he stands ready to deliver for Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe in 2021.
A maiden Grand Slam final and a first Masters 1000 trophy are the highlights of an already impressive year and he arrives in Boston at a career-high world No.3.
How the year started
Tsitsipas again made his mark at the Australian Open, where he defeated Roger Federer en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal two years ago. As the fifth seed this year, he became just the second player to defeat Rafael Nadal from two sets down to again reach the last four.
Daniil Medvedev comfortably prevailed in the semifinals, but it set the tone for a prolific match-winning stretch from hard courts to clay in which he reached at least the quarterfinals in seven straight events.
A first ATP 500 title narrowly slipped his grasp in Acapulco, where he downed the likes of Team World players John Isner and Felix Auger-Aliassime en route to a final defeat to Team Europe teammate Alexander Zverev.
First Slam final follows maiden Masters 1000 crown
Following an upset to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz in Miami, Tsitsipas shifted his focus to the clay courts of Europe where he found immediate success in Monte Carlo.
The Greek did not drop a set as he soared to his first Masters 1000 trophy over Team Europe teammate Andrey Rublev. He very nearly went back-to-back on clay before Nadal saved a championship point to snap his nine-match winning streak in the Barcelona final.
After beating Team Europe teammate Matteo Berrettini only to fall agonizingly short against Novak Djokovic in the Rome quarterfinals, Tsitsipas reaffirmed his status as one of the favorites for Roland Garros with a seventh career title in Lyon.
In Paris, he went on a tear as he avenged his Australian Open defeat to Medvedev for his third straight Grand Slam semifinal and halted Zverev’s comeback in five sets to become the first Greek major finalist.
Despite leading top seed Djokovic two-sets-to-love, Tsitsipas ultimately fell just shy as he rounded out his clay-court swing with an impressive 20-4 record. The letdown of the loss lingered as he suffered a first-round upset to Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon just two weeks later.
How it’s going
Frenchman Ugo Humbert foiled Tsitsipas’ Olympic campaign early, but the Greek rebounded strongly to notch consecutive Masters 1000 semifinals on North American hard courts.
Team World player Reilly Opelka stopped him in Toronto, before Zverev pulled off a comeback in Cincinnati, after Tsitsipas had registered his third straight win of the season over Auger-Aliassime.
Seeded third at the US Open, Tsitsipas outlasted former champion Andy Murray first up, in a draining five-set battle. He was again taken the distance two rounds later only to be upstaged in a fifth-set tie-break by rising Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
Tstisipas on playing Laver Cup:
“It is great being a part of Team Europe again and I look forward to playing in Boston,” Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas made his Laver Cup debut in 2019 and compiled a 1-2 record, including a singles victory over Taylor Fritz.
“I feel like it’s a different eye, different view of this sport we are used to playing individually,” Tsitsipas said of the Laver Cup after that campaign. “It kind of gives it a new perspective and a fresh, kind of like an evolution, I will call it.”