Moment In Time: Tsitsipas' Monte Carlo Breakthrough
“It all starts from Monte Carlo.”
“My mum won the ladies tournament in Monte Carlo when she was 16 or 17 years old, and it was a big one for her,” the Greek recently told ATP Uncovered. “So, [the Monte Carlo Country Club] meant a lot to me. Getting that win in Monte Carlo was incredible for so many reasons, mostly because of my mum, but also because I first came there when I was six years old.
“It just means something extra when you’re stepping out on that Monte Carlo court. You can feel its legacy."
Tsitsipas had impressed in the early stages of 2021, reaching the championship match in Acapulco and the semi-finals at the Australian Open and in Rotterdam, but he arrived in Monte Carlo still hunting a first title of the year. Those results were nonetheless enough to give him belief that he could go deep in the Principality.
“I was excited walking into the clay-court season with a lot of confidence and knowing that I can pull good things off,” he said. “I very much remember how I was trying to enjoy the process of it and not focus too much on the destination.”
Tsitsipas had not been past the third round in his two previous appearances in Monte Carlo, but he enjoyed a dream week as he roared to the title without dropping a set.
“It was a tournament where I felt like I was at home and every single day seemed to get better than the one before,” said Tsitsipas. “I was on a good run. I was feeling good with my game, and I was feeling like I can utilize all of my weapons and take advantage of my best strokes. And it kind of seemed to be working day after day.”
Tsitsipas saw off Aslan Karatsev, Cristian Garin and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina before taking out Daniel Evans, the Brit who had stunned top seed Novak Djokovic in the third round, to reach a third Masters 1000 final.
His opponent in the championship match was sixth seed Andrey Rublev, with both men seeking a maiden Masters 1000 crown. The Russian could not cope with Tsitsipas, however, as the Greek broke three times on his way to a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
“I knew that I was going to have to put out my best tennis against him because we both deserved our spot in the final,” said Tstisipas. “I was trying to stay as much as I could in the rallies, and I honestly couldn’t believe at the end how much my efforts paid off.
“It was a very good finish with my family being there and being very emotional at the end.”