Tsitsipas: 'My Ego Tells Me I Want More'
Drop shots, tweener lobs, and “a very millennial shot” – Stefanos Tsitsipas had to overcome every weapon in Daniil Medvedev’s arsenal on Tuesday night, but the Greek player passed the test with flying colours to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
In an exchange that summed up the 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 encounter, Tsitsipas had worked his way to match point on Medvedev’s serve in the third set. From nowhere, the second-seeded Russian struck the most unexpected shot from his typically unorthodox game: an underarm serve.
But Tsitsipas seemed to read it perfectly, and didn’t panic when Medvedev rushed in behind it. Instead, Tsitsipas blasted a backhand winner up the line to clinch the victory.
“A very millennial shot, so true,” the fifth seed commented in his post-match press conference. “Well, once he took like a short break, I saw he stopped. I felt like there was something coming up, so at that point I think I got prepared for it.
“It’s that, like, less of a second when you realise something is about to change from a regular [serve]. It was fine. I [did] what I had to do.”
That’s what the 22-year-old Greek player has been doing all fortnight long: working hard, staying prepared, and taking care of business to return to the semi-finals in Paris for the second year in a row.
The FedEx ATP Race To Turin leader has only dropped one set en route to the last four, in the third round against big-serving John Isner. He’s been on song with wins over Jeremy Chardy, Pedro Martinez and 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, and overcame the mental challenge of his 1-6 ATP Head2Head against Medvedev in the quarter-finals for a tour-leading 38th win on the season.
“I'm playing good. That will show by itself,” Tsitsipas said. “I don't think there's a player out there [in the draw] that thinks they can't win the tournament. I'm pretty sure they all know they can play well.
“Of course I'm playing good [too], and I think if I keep repeating the process, keep repeating the everyday hustle that I put [in], for sure there's going to be a reward. And why not?”
After reaching his third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, the Greek player told press he is still hungry for more.
Standing between Tsitsipas and his first appearance in the championship match of a major will be sixth seed Alexander Zverev, whom he leads 5-2 in their ATP Head2Head. It will be the youngest Roland Garros semi-final since Rafael Nadal, 22, defeated Novak Djokovic, 21, here in 2008. But Tsitsipas won’t be satisfied emulating the Big Three or setting ‘youngest since’ records for much longer – he wants to leave his own mark on the game.
“I feel privileged that I'm in that position,” Tsitsipas said. “I feel obviously I've put in a lot of daily hard work and [that] has been a key element of me being here. But my ego tells me I want more.”