Tennis Prose



Is Tsitsipas a shattered player?

Earlier this year Stefanos Tsitsipas was on the edge of history and greatness as he produced some of the best tennis of the decade. The Greek titan was dominating world no. 1 Novak Djokovic with a commanding two set 76 62 lead in the Roland Garros final earlier this year.

But then he faltered. Tsitsipas lost that match 36 26 46 and that heartbreaking, excruciating defeat would have long term effects on the Tsitsipas spirit and confidence. He has still not fully recovered from that traumatic experience.

At Wimbledon, a hollow Tsitsipas lost first round to Tiafoe in three sets.

At Cincy he lost to Zverev 76 in the third in the semi.

At the Olympics he lost to Humbert in the round 16.

At Canada he lost to Opelka 46 in the third in the semi.

At US Open he lost to Alcazar 76 in the fifth set in R32.

At Indian Wells he fell in the quarters to Basilashvili, 64 in the third.

At Vienna he lost again to Tiafoe in R32 in straight sets.

This week in Paris, he retired in his first match at 24 vs Popyrin. He cited some kind of vague arm injury.

World no. 3 Tsitsipas hasn’t won a title since Lyon which was before French Open. His only other title this year came in Monte Carlo. Tsitsipas won three titles in 2019 and one last year.

When a player comes so close to winning a Grand Slam title and fails it can have a devastating effect – consider Alex Corretja, Marcelo Rios, Marcos Bagdhatis, Greg Rusedski, Mal Washington, Kei Nishikori, David Ferrer, David Nalbandian, Tomas Berdych, Kevin Anderson, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Gonzalez, Rainer Schuettler, and Guillermo Coria.

Tsitsipas is going through a blue period where he has to be wondering if he will ever be able to get in position of a Grand Slam final again. He has to be wondering why he was not able to finish off Djokovic with a two set lead. Even the great Pete Sampras said (in private) it took weeks to get over losing a Grand Slam final.

Tsitsipas has lost aura, he has lost some mystique. The other players see and sense a vulnerablity in Tsitsipas and they are exploiting it.

It may be time for Team Tsitsipas to make some serious changes to their approach and energy. The most logical suggestion would be to find a coach who has suffered through the same plight of early Grand Slam final failure and then of course ultimately prevailed after years of suffering (Lendl, Agassi).

Stefanos Tsitsipas is showing the signs and results of a shattered, broken, dispirited, fading 23 year old player. But even if the number of threats from other formidable players is growing seemingly by the month, time is still on the side of Tsitsipas. He is a seven time ATP singles champion and he is the third best player in the world right now.

Note: Other career crushing defeats…Chang vs Spadea at US Open, Agassi vs Bagdhatis at US Open, Federer vs Sandgren at AO, Graf vs Zvereva at Roland Garros final…

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  • Doug · November 5, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Scoop how about something on James Duckworth? One of the great comebacks from injury he was never the less spurned a Davis Cup berth. Walks like a transformer, too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 5, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Doug, I have noticed Duckworth lately, for some reason he has a reputation as a journeyman plugger who gets a decent win here and there and somehow keeps afloat in the ATP but this year he has proved he’s a juggernaut force to be reckoned with. Totally under the radar but a dangerous player for anybody. Has to be the “Most Improved ATP Player” this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 5, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Doug I just finished short feature about Duckworth here. Thank you for the spark.



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