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Stefanos Tsitsipas fires a backhand against Mikael Ymer at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Tsitsipas: Long Opening Matches Helped ‘Awaken Mind’ In Ymer Win

Greek ran out straight-sets winner over No. 95-ranked Swede

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ 92-minute third-round win over Mikael Ymer at Roland Garros on Saturday proved relatively straightforward compared to his marathon battles with Lorenzo Musetti and Zdenek Kolar in the first two rounds at the clay-court Grand Slam. Yet despite the differing nature of the victory, the approach that took the Greek there remained the same.

“I had to do my job. I had to play my tennis. I wasn't really thinking of the ease that I could maybe create in terms of a result,” said the World No. 4 in his post-match press conference. "With my good efforts, the way I committed myself to every single point individually, the end was good.

“I was able to create a good result today with some good tennis and be overall consistent in many aspects of my game. Playing with a lot of depth and really staying patient. I wasn't thinking of the result. I was entirely focused on my play out there."

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Tsitsipas holds high ambitions for another deep run in Paris, where he is now in the fourth round for a fourth consecutive year. Rather than emphasising the physical benefits of a straight-sets victory, however, the 2021 finalist was focussed on how the result boosts him mentally.

“It's a good thing to have a match like this every now and then,” he said. “Especially when you come in, when you walk into a match with so much confidence and believe that you can really structure your tactics and you feel the confidence of your game itself.

“Having built up through the matches before, having played a lot of rallies but having been in a lot of situations in a match, you are able to kind of awaken the mind a little bit and see the best opportunities and possibilities for yourself."

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Despite his gruelling clashes with Musetti (which lasted three hours, 34 minutes) and Kolar (four hours, six minutes), Tsitsipas believes off-court changes he has made now allow him to maintain his challenge over a Grand Slam fortnight regardless of the amount of time spent on court.

“I respect the top three a lot for having been so incredibly consistent the last couple of years. These guys have pushed me to become a better athlete…Every day is a question: ‘What can I add?’

“I have improved certainly a lot when it comes to my diet. Looking back on the diet that I had, let's say, three or four years ago, it's nothing compared to what I have now. I'm very professional and very conscious of what I consume and what I eat every day.

“In terms of fitness, this is something that I have questioned a lot as well. How much more can I push and bring my body to the limits in order to be at ease when I'm on the court, and be able to withstand all that physical pressure of playing long matches and having to push after every single shot?”

Tsitsipas’ new methods have powered the Greek to a strong 2022 season. He owns a Tour-leading 34 match wins this year and the Greek will hope that momentum can now carry him to a maiden Grand Slam title in Paris. The fourth seed feels taking a fresh perspective on his life on Tour can also help him achieve that goal.

“Of course the balance between life and career hasn't been easy, but I really feel in better control of my life right now,” said Tsitsipas. “Being focussed and having control around me without relying too much on other people's feelings and other people in general. I put myself a little bit more in front than I used to before, which I think has helped a lot.”