04:49 PM GMT January 02, 2018
It’s been quite the ride for Stefanos Tsitsipas, who rose from No. 210 to No. 91 in the ATP Rankings, reached an ATP World Tour 250 semi-final and recorded a Top 10 victory over the past 12 months.
Having narrowly missed out on a qualification spot at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, the #NextGenATP Greek has set his heart on starting strong in the 2018 ATP World Tour season.
“I would like to win enough points to be in the Top 3 in the Race to Milan for the Next Gen ATP Finals by March,” said Tsitsipas. “I also expect to make at least the third round of the Australian Open and hopefully win an ATP World Tour 250 title by around March or April.”
Having taken part in an exhibition match against Alexander Zverev in November 2017 at the Next Gen ATP Finals, 19-year-old Tsitsipas saw first-hand the dedication and commitment it took for his youthful contemporaries to qualify for the Milan event.
“All the Next Gen ATP players are giving me motivation to do better,” said Tsitsipas. “I see them, the way they do things and I want to do the same things they do. I want to stay high in the ATP Rankings and follow their footsteps. It’s tough, what they are doing [and] they are the stars of tomorrow.”
Having spent much of his pre-season in France, practising alongside Viktor Troicki and Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tsitsipas comes into the 2018 season feeling positive and with new ideas.
“It went really well this year compared to last year’s preparation,” said Tsitsipas. “It was more organised, everything was in order. I had my own private fitness coach this year, my tennis coach working with me for many hours on the court. I had a physio at the [Mouratoglou] academy that took care of me every single day to prevent injuries.
“I want to be more offensive, to press more with my forehand, which should be a bigger weapon. [I worked] mostly on my offensive game, durability on the court and playing smart with my coach. I am also developing my fitness, which is obviously very important nowadays.”
After a solid first-round win over Florian Mayer this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Tsitsipas spoke of his three main targets for the season.
“I’d like to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam, reach the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings and to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. These are the main goals. We’ll see how the year goes. If it goes better then I’ll set new ones, but I’d like to start with that.”
Having beaten David Goffin at the European Open in October 2017, Tsitsipas believes with hard work and the right mentality he will succeed in his ambition to automatically qualify for all ATP World Tour and Grand Slam events in 2019.
“I don’t believe that I should have any pressure because I am just starting on the ATP World Tour and I just need to keep playing my game the way I have been for all these years and improve myself,” said Tsitsipas.
“There is nothing that will put pressure on me; it’s the wrong way of thinking. It is only me and my goals. I sometimes don’t really see who my opponent is and that is important. I’d rather just concentrate on myself and my tennis and not what people say or expect from you.”