© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the sixth player to successfully defend a Monte Carlo title in the Open Era.

Tsitsipas: 'I Think I Have A Big Chance Of Finishing The Year Top Two'

Greek reflects on his Monte Carlo triumph

Stefanos Tsitsipas was thrilled to successfully his defend his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title this week. However, what made it “double” special was how deep he had to dig to lift the trophy in the Principality again.

“It was a great way to top it off with lots of fighting in the end,” Tsitsipas said. “[It was] not so much [about] going for clean winners or for too much beautiful tennis, but trying to put in the hard work in every single point and go over the limits, as I like to say.”

In the quarter-finals, Tsitsipas rallied from 0-4 in the third set against Diego Schwartzman. In the final, he let slip an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set. But instead of panicking, the two-time Monte Carlo champion quickly rebounded to complete his victory in the ensuing tie-break.

Tsitsipas earned 1,000 ATP Rankings points with his win, which will propel him to second in the ATP Race To Turin on Monday as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year. But the 23-year-old has set his sights even higher.

“I have a surface that I might be adjusting easier to than other surfaces and we know which one that is,” Tsitsipas said of his recent performance on clay. “My goal ever since I have realised that… is if I'm able to score points [on] this surface as much as I can and really concentrate on the other surfaces a bit more, I can really pull off a great year, maybe even finishing among the two best tennis players at the end of the season.”

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion is off to a strong start to his season, which has included a run to the Australian Open semi-finals and the Rotterdam final on top of his Monte Carlo triumph. He is aiming to bring the level he did in the Principality throughout the year.

“I’m always trying to bring the best I can from clay and adjust accordingly to the other surfaces. I really want to be doing well on hard and grass this year, because I feel like I can really get a lot of points there,” Tsitsipas said. “If I'm able to win matches with the same consistency I do on this surface, I think I have a big chance of finishing the year [in] the top two, which is a huge goal of mine to be finally there and belong in that special group of players.”

Only five active players — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Daniil Medvedev — have reached World No. 2, and all of them have ascended to World No. 1. Tsitsipas has reached a career-high of World No. 3.

“My tennis is great I think everywhere, with clay maybe being the surface that I can adjust [to] the best. I have had moments where I was trying to apply what I apply on clay on hard. Doesn't really seem to be working much. Sometimes it's not really the way to go,” Tsitsipas said. “But this has also [taught] me a lot that I should adjust and I should never really become obsessive that, ‘Okay, whatever works on clay should work on faster surfaces’.”

For now, Tsitsipas will not look too far ahead. The Greek is right back to work at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell this week. The top seed is a two-time finalist at the ATP 500, where he will try to lift another trophy.

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