Tsitsipas On Wimbledon Stunner: 'I Was Lost'
Stefanos Tsitsipas was widely considered a leading contender outside of the Big Three entering Wimbledon. But the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion was stunned in the opening round against Italian Thomas Fabbiano, against whom he lost only seven games at The Championships last year.
Tsitsipas wasn’t totally surprised, though. He almost saw it coming based on how his practices were going leading into the season’s third Grand Slam.
“I was so frustrated knowing already how things are going to be, based on my feelings on the court, how I felt. I was very mad with myself yesterday,” Tsitsipas said. “I already felt that I was actually not playing very well yesterday in practice, so I was kind of curious to see how this is going to change today. But it didn't.”
Tsitsipas admitted that he was struggling with his service return, synchronising his footwork and coordination to put himself in the proper position, and the coordination also hindered him on his serve. He was broken five times.
It seemed Tsitsipas might turn the tide after saving two match points in a fourth-set tie-break and then earning three break points in his first return game of the decider, but the World No. 6 could not convert. He took advantage of just two of his 10 break chances.
“It felt like I was lost, going for too much or going for nothing,” Tsitsipas said. “There was no balance in what I was doing.”
Tsitsipas, who won titles in Marseille and Estoril this year, reached the Madrid championship match and made the Australian Open semi-finals, was quick to credit his 30-year-old opponent. Last year, Fabbiano was unable to get anything going against the #NextGenATP Greek in the third round at Wimbledon. This time, he struck 45 winners en route to his first Top 10 victory.
“He was just playing better. I wouldn't actually deserve the victory today even if I would have won because I didn't play well. He played much better today. I give him credit,” Tsitsipas said. “The way I played, it should have been in three, not five. I don't know how I got to five. I guess with my fighting spirit, somehow I managed to win those two sets.
“I didn't manage to get even close to that level that I played last year. I just saw him as a more improved, more solid player than he was last year.”
It is Tsitsipas’ second consecutive disappointing five-set loss at a major. At Roland Garros, former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beat Tsitsipas 8-6 in the fifth set of their fourth-round match. The Greek finishes his grass-court season with a 2-3 record after an opening-round loss at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and a quarter-final defeat at The Queen’s Club.
“It was very, very difficult to overcome that match. I was really disappointed. I am disappointed now. People expected things from me. I didn't deliver. When you get so much support, so much energy, so much positivity from everyone, just ruin everything by yourself, it's devastating,” Tsitsipas said. “I should be the one creating. I should be the one just playing my game. I can't seem to find a way to do that.”
Tsitsipas was also put off by the change of surface, never finding a way to adjust to grass this year.
“I felt very uncomfortable. I changed my technique. I've changed my movement accordingly, according to the surface. When I'm playing out there, I don't really play my game the way I want to play just because the grass just forces you to change,” Tsitsipas said. “You have to stay lower. You have to kind of make these micro changes in your game, the way you serve, because the ball is sliding, the ball is staying low. That's what I'm really frustrated about. I don't play my game. I play someone else's game.”
A reporter asked Tsitsipas at his news conference if he will take some time off now to regroup.
“I'll discuss it with my team. I don't know,” Tsitsipas said. “Maybe I don't deserve a break.