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Tsitsipas: I was No 1 as a junior, I want to be No 1 on the tour
If he becomes Australian Open champion, he will also become world No 1
After years of Big Four monopoly, Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz both became world No 1 in 2022. Another player of the Next Gen will have the opportunity to take his in turn on Sunday – Stefanos Tsitsipas. It is a goal that the Greek does not hide and that represents a long-held dream for him.
“I remember watching it on TV saying to myself, I want to be there one day myself (win a Grand Slam and become world No 1), I want to recreate that feeling for me,” said the 24-year-old in a press conference after his victory over Karen Khachanov. “I knew that’s a very long journey to get there. There are certain steps you have to take to give yourself the chance to be competing for something like this.
“But I very much believed it. I very much believed it. First of all, it’s your ego that speaks. You either have it or not, you know? As a kid, I was very confident. Thank God I was good in my country. Starting from that, I knew if I’m able to get out of my country and compete in other countries, European leagues, European tours, I proved myself over and over again that I’m actually good. I did finish as a junior No1. Now I want to do it in the men’s side, in the men’s professional tennis, yeah.”
Three rankings possible for Tsitsipas this fortnight
Tsitsipas can finish the Australian fortnight at three different rankings. If he wins the tournament he will be No 1, if he loses to Tommy Paul in the final he will still reach the best ATP ranking of his career, No 2, and if he loses to Novak Djokovic he will match his best ranking, No 3.
Even if Djokovic did not remember, the Greek will play on Sunday, the second Grand Slam final of his career after the French Open in 2021. He laughed in the press conference and said he didn’t remember it either.
One thing is for sure, he has never felt better than he did at this tournament.
“I’m playing great tennis. I’m enjoying myself. I just see no downside or negativity in what I’m trying to do out there. Even if it doesn’t work, I’m very optimistic and positive about any outcome, any opponent that I have to face.
“This is something that has been sort of lacking in my game. I genuinely believe in what I’m able to produce. That is more than enough. I go about this way. I do this with a lot of – I strive for it every single day. It might not go the way I want it to, but I put 110% out there.”
If he loses to the Serb in the final, he could have more opportunities to reach the throne of world tennis on the American tour in March. For the moment, Djokovic is not allowed to enter the United States and therefore cannot play Indian Wells and Miami, and Tsitsipas will have few points to defend since in 2022 he reached only the third round of the former and the round of 16 of the latter.