“Learned to Play on Clay”: Stefanos Tsitsipas Ready to Challenge Rafael Nadal and Others at French Open

Published 01/14/2021, 11:00 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 17, 2020 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates winning his group stage match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Toby Melville


The 22-year-old tennis player from Greece, Stefanos Tsitsipas, is seated as the World No. 6 in the ATP Top 10 rankings. He first came into the limelight in 2019, when he won the ATP Finals in London.

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However, in 2020, Tsitsipas had an unsatisfactory run throughout the year. Despite successfully defending his title in Marseille, he couldn’t make a valuable contribution in major tournaments.

His biggest game of last year came at the semifinals of the French Open against Novak Djokovic. After the excruciating five sets there, the Greek professional realized that his leg edema had worsened. But even then, Stefanos participated in all the tournaments that came after.

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As a defending champion, he entered the year-ending ATP Finals tournament in London and exited in the group stage itself. Fortunately, this allowed him more time to recover from the injury and start his 2021 season as brand new.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas deems clay as an ideal surface to learn tennis

LONDON, ENGLAND -: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece embrace at the net after their singles match during Day Six of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 15, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

Considering his potential, Tsitsipas will definitely strike back louder to make up for the losses in 2020. But before that, he looked back on his development in the game.

“I have learned to play on clay,” Stefanos said. “It is the ideal surface to learn the technique and tactics of tennis.”

(All quotes are translated from Italian to English via Google Translate)

While a clay court helps players develop their game and become more patient, it makes the adaptability on hard courts quite difficult. For instance, Spain’s Rafael Nadal has dominated clay tournaments throughout his career, but he has found trouble everywhere else.

Having said that, the highest-ranked Greek professional has found success on both clay and hard courts. He will, therefore, be a great contender to win the French Open as well as other Slams.

“It took me some time to transition to the other fields,” the World No. 6 revealed. “But I’ve always been of the opinion that technique is absolutely fundamental.” The bottom line is that tennis is all about control over a tennis ball. “If you hit the ball well, then the whole game benefits,” he explained.

Where will Stefanos begin his 2021 season?

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his group stage match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Toby Melville

Tsitsipas will soon be flying to Melbourne Park to begin his 2021 season. Starting from the ATP Cup as a representative of Greece, he will next compete for the Australian Open 2021 title.

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Since he has never reached a Grand Slam final, his first target will be to make that happen. Besides, tennis fans will also want a new face as a major tournament winner.

Notably, his first breach in a Grand Slam semifinal came at the Australian Open in 2019. Can he repeat the same or perhaps surprise the world further by bagging the title this year?

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Purav Joshi

946 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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