Stefanos Tsitsipas has called world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz a “breath of fresh air” on the tour and someone he has come to admire.
After the 24-year-old’s first round match at the 2023 French Open, he spoke to reporters about an earlier training session with Alcaraz and how he has drawn inspiration from the youngster.
“I had a practice session with Carlitos [Alcaraz] the other day… I owe a lot to Carlitos, because he’s such a breath of fresh air,” he said.
“The fact that he’s just so competitive and he always has a smile on his face, there’s so much charisma and positive energy that he distributes.
“Last year during preseason I was like, ‘I want to apply that more into my game.’ Players focus more maybe on technical stuff and… don’t focus on these aspects of the game.
“I kind of admire him for who he is. I just want to be more. I have that capacity of being that person. I truly believe that. That is also the reason that I’m just much more joyful and happy when playing this sport, due to him,” he added.
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While the Greek player produced moments of brilliance, it was an overall forgettable performance. Despite hitting an impressive 58 winners and committing 38 unforced errors, Tsitsipas struggled to find his rhythm against the Czech opponent.
Acknowledging his below-par performance, Tsitsipas said: “The match was very inconsistent from my side. I felt like I haven’t played a match with so much inconsistency in a very long time.
“There weren’t a lot of rallies in play. He was serving big, so I had to find ways to change that. At times I felt like my footwork was lousy. I think it’s also due to the fact that, as I said, there were not many rallies played which didn’t allow my legs to be activated. Might be because of that.
“I’m happy with how things turned around, and my fighting spirit kind of went on full display in those last few points of the tiebreaker. It was a great way to end it by just being patient and waiting for that chance to pop up.
“I know it might sound unusual, but I said, Okay, let me try something new. Let me just try and go to the ball a little bit more, add a little bit more depth to my shot and a better way to kind of view the court, as well, by doing that, coming in.”
“Psychologically, that was like it created a spark.”
According to Eurosport expert Mats Wilander, the Greek will need to learn how to close out matches much sooner if he wants to do well in the tournament.
“I think it’s a wake-up call for Stefanos,” Wilander said on Eurosport.
“‘Hey, I need to be ready to finish matches, don’t allow this to happen again’. We did not [expect such a tight match].
“Being up two sets to love and then not closing it out in three sets, and then just in four sets – is that good for your confidence or not?
“You know what I really like – you can hear that the crowd really enjoys watching Stefanos when he plays. He moves so well, he plays so aggressive. Just like he said [afterwards], he needs to go to the ball.
“It’s difficult on Philippe-Chatrier – it’s a tough court to play on.”
Tsitsipas will next face Roberto Carballes Baena in the second round after the Spaniard beat Emilio Nava.
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Source: Euro Sports