Bursting With Belief, Tsitsipas Ready For Final Step At Australian Open
Getting over the line to claim Grand Slam glory is one of the toughest tests in the game, but Stefanos Tsitsipas believes he has never been more ready to achieve that feat ahead of his maiden Australian Open final.
“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,” said the Greek after his 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 semi-final victory against Karen Khachanov on Friday in Melbourne. “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 [it] this way... I strive for it every single day. It might not go the way I want it to, but I put 110 per cent out there.”
Sunday’s championship match against Novak Djokovic or Tommy Paul will be an opportunity for Tsitsipas to banish any lingering disappointment from his first Grand Slam final, at Roland Garros in 2021. He led Djokovic by two-sets-to-love before falling to defeat on the Paris clay, but the Greek believes his improved ability to deal with difficult moments on court stands him in better stead this time around.
“I think it starts with confidence, your capabilities, what you can do out there,” he said. “I think frustration also builds when you start panicking or you feel completely off and completely not OK with your game. It has this tendency to build up over time, especially when you're unable to find some sort of solutions within yourself.
“I definitely believe this is something that hasn't been reoccurring. I have a good relationship with myself on the court. I think this is something that has given me that sort of attitude. Of course, less frustration than before.”
Should he triumph in Sunday’s final, Tsitsipas will rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time. The third-seeded Greek admitted that claiming top spot would represent the fulfilment of a long-held, burning ambition.
“I remember watching [tennis] on TV saying to myself, I want to be there one day myself,” said Tsitsipas. “I want to recreate that feeling for me. I knew that [it would be] 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... 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 [to] myself, over and over again, that I'm actually good.
“I did finish as a junior No. 1. Now I want to do it in the men's side, in men's professional tennis.”