Stefanos Tsitsipas finished 2018 with a bang, claiming the Next Gen ATP Finals crown. That helped him finish the season No. 15 in the ATP Rankings, and it didn’t take the Greek star long to dream even bigger.
“My goal was to make it to London and it still is to make it to London,” Tsitsipas said of his 2019 aspirations. “But if you would have told me that I’m No. 6 in the Race… obviously I would be happy to know that I would be in that position. But I have plenty of things to prove until then.”
Tsitsipas arrives at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships on a four-match losing streak at tour-level tournaments. So the 21-year-old knows that even though he is in sixth place in the ATP Race To London, he has to finish the season strong, starting here in Zhuhai.
“First I need to do well to qualify. It would mean a lot of things to me if I could qualify,” Tsitsipas said. “I really hope I make it.”
Tsitsipas showed good form to start his North American hard-court summer at the Citi Open, where he made the semi-finals only to lose to Nick Kyrgios in a final-set tie-break. But three-set losses in his Montreal and Cincinnati openers followed by a four-set defeat in the first round of the US Open brought that momentum to a halt.
“I didn’t really have great results since [the]… beginning of August, I didn’t do much,” Tsitsipas said. “I hope to make a few changes and adapt to the new changes that I’ve made in my game in order to perform better and not be so tight and so close with the London entry.”
Tsitsipas is not making any major changes to his game during this Asian Swing. It’s not as if he hasn’t had a strong year: winning titles in Marseille and Estoril, reaching finals in Dubai and Madrid as well as another ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome. But the top seed in Zhuhai wants to make slight adjustments to get back on track.
“[I need to make] technical changes and micro-adjustments that might be invisible but it’s also [about] my way of thinking on the court,” Tsitsipas said.
When Tsitsipas competed in China one year ago, a fan gave him what has become a ‘lucky figure’ with his name on it, which he keeps on the outside of his bag. Tsitsipas always feels the love in Asia, and he’s excited to be back in this part of the world again, as well as for the fan support in Zhuhai.
“[I’m going to bring] my best performance, my best behaviour, attitude on the court and the best version of Stefanos,” Tsitsipas said. “So I would appreciate it if this would spread out and have a lot of tennis fans come out to the centre court to back me up.”