Down On His Luck, Tsitsipas Turned To Federer
Stefanos Tsitsipas wanted to be alone. Greece’s #NextGenATP star had lost in the first round of Wimbledon, a five-setter to Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano in which Tsitsipas had three break points early in the fifth set but converted none.
The 20-year-old locked himself in his London room for three days. He spent time on his computer and read books. That’s it.
“I thought about this match a lot,” he said on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. “I was very upset.”
But Tsitsipas didn’t exclusively turn to fantasy fiction or a topic that would let him completely think about something other than tennis. Tsitsipas read the novel The Alchemist and a book on his tennis idol, Roger Federer.
“I was reading an autobiography [by] another journalist concerning the life of Roger Federer. One really interesting book about him,” Tsitsipas said. “The details in there are pretty accurate.”
Eventually, though, Tsitsipas did step away from the sport, going on a two-week vacation. “I think that was very important to refuel, recharge my batteries coming in here,” he said.
The World No. 6 returned to his winning ways on Stadium Court at the Citi Open, an ATP 500 event, beating home favourite Tommy Paul of the U.S. 6-3, 7-5 to make the third round. Tsitsipas advanced to the semi-finals last year in Washington before falling to eventual champion Alexander Zverev of Germany.
“I was a bit nervous in the beginning. Didn’t know what to expect. I’m really happy that I got through that first match. It was quite a challenging match,” Tsitsipas said.
On Monday, he and Aussie Nick Kyrgios joined forces for the first time, playing doubles against the No. 1 ranked team in the world, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The reigning Wimbledon champions beat Kyrgios/Tsitsipas, but the extra match time hasn’t hurt either of them. Kyrgios also reached the third round with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win against Gilles Simon.
“I think that released some pressure out of me compared to if I wouldn’t have played doubles,” Tsitsipas said.
The pair plan to play together again at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, which begins 11 August. In Washington, Tsitsipas will next meet Aussie Jordan Thompson, who fought past German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7(8), 6-4, 7-5.