'Stef Is Kind Of A Genius': Tsitsipas Gearing Up For An Even Better 2020

Catch up with the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion's off-season preparation

Stefanos Tsitsipas punctuated his 2019 season in the greatest way possible, winning the Nitto ATP Finals in London, marking the biggest title of his career. The sixth seed at the Australian Open, Tsitsipas will now try to build on that great finish in the year ahead.

“It was a great end of the year, coming in London strong from the very beginning, full of confidence. It just gave me so much to work around with. I felt very flexible in my way of thinking,” Tsitsipas said. “At the end I left from London with the trophy, which I couldn’t really believe what just happened. It was a great, great week with good fan support, a good team around me.”

The Greek had already shown his potential, winning three prior ATP Tour titles and reaching two ATP Masters 1000 finals. But defeating Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev in one week broke new ground for the 21-year-old.

“I remember playing the Next Gen Finals [in 2018] and thinking to myself that the young generation I’m currently facing at the Next Gen ATP Finals is the future,” Tsitsipas said. “Players are young, they’re ambitious, they play so well. There’s nothing to fear of going out and playing with the elder players. So for me, that was very crucial to be in that kind of thinking and that kind of mindset.”

That paid dividends, as Tsitsipas is now not only the future, but the present. He certainly made an impression on those around him, including mentor Marcos Baghdatis.

“He came on end of the year finding again his rhythm,” Baghdatis said. “I find it incredible what he did. For me, Stef is kind of a genius.”

Tsitsipas’ run in London didn’t come out of nowhere, though. It was the high point of a steady progression that began at the end of 2018, when he won the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Just two months later, he reached the Australian Open semi-finals, upsetting Federer in Melbourne.

“The fact that the semi-final, you start off with a bang beating Federer and a semi-final finish at the Australian Open was huge and then I think the momentum just went on from there,” said Mark Philippoussis, an 11-time ATP Tour champion. “Finishes strong at The O2. I felt like we saw him raise his game a level and really see what he’s capable of.”

After his big win to end 2019, Tsitsipas took some well-earned time away from the court to reset, visiting Iceland, Cyprus and Oman before heading to Dubai for his off-season training.

“It’s rare that I get to do these kinds of things,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m usually very focussed and concentrated on my tennis, so I really cherish the fact that I’m able to travel and go to places away from tennis and not be concentrated on tennis despite my love for the sport.”

Now Tsitsipas is ready to try to progress even more in 2020.

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