‘Let’s see what tennis is like without the Big Three’ – Tsitsipas ready for ATP Cup despite Djokovic absence

The leading Greek singles player at the ATP Cup isn’t going to miss the Big Three too much

CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 20: Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece smiles at the crowd a does a fist pump after winning the quarterfinal match against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada on day 5 of the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio on August 20, 2021.

With Novak Djokovic’s late withdrawal, Rafael Nadal’s Covid-19 diagnosis, and Roger Federer’s persistent injury problems, none of the Big Three will be in Sydney for the ATP Cup this weekend.

Team Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas sees it not as a loss, however – more a glimpse into the near future where the trio of thirtysomethings will have retired and a new generation is at the top of the sport.

“I guess that’s how it is going to be generally in few years’ time, potentially maybe in three years’ time,” he said in his pre-tournament press conference. “So getting used to it earlier, it’s pretty much a new reality.

“Let’s see how tennis works out without the top three. I really want to see which players are going to prevail at this point.”

Tsitsipas – ‘We have something different to offer’

The 23-year-old is expected to be one of the leading lights of the group of players breaking through, having reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros in 2021 – but he feels no additional pressure to be a standard-bearer for the Next Gen.

“I don’t see any responsibilities,” he said. “I’m playing for myself. If young kids are inspired by what I do and what my fellow players do, what my teammates do, then I have done my job right and they have done their job right. It’s great to see younger generations of players, younger kids get the chance to see tennis at such high level. I think we are able to bring tennis at a very high level, because we have something different to offer than what Djokovic or Federer or Nadal have.

“It’s not our responsibility. It’s just we have to work hard every single day and bring the best out of this game and set the bar high.”

Tsitsipas – ‘The rules are the rules’

Tsitsipas refused to be drawn on Djokovic’s choice to skip the ATP Cup, or speculate on whether he would play at the Australian Open in light of the mandatory vaccination requirements.

“Look, the rules are rules, and the rules are established for a certain purpose and the reason, so there are certain parameters that have to be followed in order to make certain things happen,” he said.

“So if some players decide not to follow them, it’s their choice. I wouldn’t say it’s right or wrong here. You know, I was really looking forward on coming to Australia, and I follow whatever was necessary in order for me to come, and I’m super glad to be playing here. The Australian summer is one of my favorite parts of the season, and I just love being here.

“Whether it’s in Sydney or in Brisbane or Melbourne, the overall vibe is great.”

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