12:33 AM GMT November 11, 2018
Stefanos Tsitsipas completed a dream season on Saturday evening, punctuating a year in which he climbed from No. 91 to No. 15 in the ATP Rankings and won his maiden ATP World Tour title in Stockholm before lifting the trophy at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Alongside the Greek through it all has been his father and coach, Apostolos Tsitsipas. Apostolos spoke to ATPWorldTour.com after his son’s triumph.
How does it feel to watch your son win this tournament?
It’s one more step in his career. He achieved one more step. And I’m only saying this kind of tournament, the Next Gen ATP Finals, it’s one more step to [improve a] step and continue your route on this journey.
If I would have told you this time last year when he was an alternate in Milan that he’d be No. 15 in the ATP Rankings and win the tournament, what would you have said?
He did the proper thing to arrive there [at No. 15], and then things are coming, titles are coming and whatever he dreams, whatever he wishes to do in his life, it’s coming. That’s it. It’s a job, it’s all the way from the beginning of the year, the things he works on, they paid off for him now.
What’s the biggest difference between Stefanos now and Stefanos then?
I don’t believe there’s any difference. I think he’s the same person, he’s just growing, he’s learning from his experience and he’s there to learn. It’s so important to be there to learn, not just let lost moments and lost experiences go. I think it helped him tremendously that this year, he played the big guys and that experience is unique.
Now that he is No. 15, he has made a big jump. What’s the next goal?
There are many goals. Definitely to stay there is one of the most important things, and to work again, because now he has new targets, new goals in his life and he has to work again for the new goals. Definitely he’s dreaming of winning a Grand Slam, winning more tournaments, more titles. But as I said, it’s very important to be healthy and play good tennis, and then everything will come.
After Stefanos lost the first set, he spoke to you on the headset, which didn’t happen a lot this week. What did you tell him?
I told him some tactical things, like to take care more on the return of serve, because Alex has special patterns with his serve. He uses some special patterns on his serve, so I told him to take care of it so he can return better and he did it. He stayed closer to the line and became a little bit more aggressive and that was important to win the second set and the third set.
Now that the year is over and Stefanos has achieved everything he has, how nice it is to have gone through it not just as his coach, but as his father?
It was very special to be with my son, definitely. As a coach, I learned a lot of things. I’m learning every day. Hopefully one day I will be a good enough coach for my son for his future demands and his future dreams.