Stefanos Tsitsipas is a Greek professional tennis player and is one of the few players to win the Nitto ATP Finals in the 2010’s outside of the Big 3.
Name: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Born: August 12, 1998
Turned Pro: 2016
Stefanos Tsitsipas was born in Athens, Greece to parents who are both experienced tennis players. His mother, Julia Apostoli, was in fact a World No.1 junior who represented her native Soviet Union in Fed Cup. Tsitsipas was introduced to tennis at the age of three and began taking lessons by the time he was six. Although he also participated in other sports like football and swimming, he chose to focus on tennis at age nine. With his father as his primary coach, he began training at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in France. He would go on to win 11 ITF Futures titles between 2013 and 2016, and break into the top 200.
Tsitsipas’s first ATP appearance was at Basel in 2016, where he received a qualifying wildcard entry. He defeated Rajeev Ram in the opening round of qualifiers but failed to make the main draw after losing to Robin Haase. He competed in his first ATP main draw at Rotterdam the following year, losing to eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round. He also made his Grand Slam debut later that year as a qualifier at the French Open, but lost to Ivo Karlović in his first match.
Although he qualified for eight events in the 2017 season, including Wimbledon, Tsitsipas did not win his first ATP main draw match until he beat Karen Khachanov at the Shanghai Masters in November. He ended the year ranked inside the Top 100, becoming the first Greek player to do so. Furthermore, he was also ranked high enough to be named as an alternate for the Next Gen ATP Finals.
Tsitsipas experienced his breakthrough during the 2018 season, as he began the year with quarterfinal showings at Doha and Dubai. He reached his first career ATP final at the Barcelona Open, defeating then-World No.7 Dominic Thiem in the process. However, he lost to Rafael Nadal in a one-sided contest. Nonetheless, this performance saw him enter the Top 50, and it was followed by another strong showing as he made the semifinals at the Estoril Open.
Following his first Grand Slam match victory at the French Open, Tsitsipas was seeded for the first time at Wimbledon (No.31). He would lose in the fourth round to 10th-seeded American John Isner. The Greek would move on to the hardcourt season with a semifinal appearance at the Washington Open. This would be followed by his second ATP final appearance, this time at the 2018 Rogers Cup. He would upset Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev en route to the final. However, he would again lose to Nadal in straight sets, but climb to a career-high of World No.15.
After losing in the second round at the 2018 US Open, Tsitsipas would go on an underwhelming run with early-round losses in his next four tournaments. However, he would claim his maiden ATP title at the Stockholm Open, defeating Latvian Ernests Gulbis in the final. With the victory, he became the first Greek player to lift an ATP trophy. He finished the season by winning the Next Gen ATP Finals, defeating Alex De Minaur in the final. It came as no surprise that he was named the ATP Most Improved Player of the season, finishing in the Top 20 after beginning the season ranked World No.91.
The 2019 season saw Tsitsipas make his best Grand Slam appearance. At the Australian Open, he upset then-World No.3 Roger Federer in the fourth round but again lost to Nadal in the semifinal. However, this performance saw him rise to a career-high of World No.12, as he became the highest-ranked Greek player in history. He would go on to win his second career ATP title at the Open 13 in Marseille, before finishing runner-up to Federer in Dubai. The Greek superstar won his first career clay court title at the Estoril Open a few weeks later, before reaching the final at the Madrid Masters the following week. He defeated Zverev and Nadal en route to the final, where he lost to World No.1 Novak Djokovic. This excellent run of play saw Tsitsipas break into the Top 10 and reach World No.6 in the rankings.
Despite poor performances at Wimbledon and the US Open, Tsitsipas still reached a career-high ranking of No.5 in August 2019. He rebounded with a runner-up finish at the China Open (l. to Thiem), and made the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters and Basel Open. This was enough to grant him qualification for the season-ending ATP Finals. After defeating Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev in the group stage, he defeated Federer in the semifinals. Tsitsipas then battled past Dominic Thiem to win the ATP Finals on his debut. At 21, he became the youngest player to win the title since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed at age 20 in 2001. He finished the season ranked World No.6.
The 2020 season saw Tsitsipas fail to replicate his 2019 Australian Open performance as he lost in the third round to Milos Raonic. He was able to defend his Marseille title, but lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Tsitsipas is an active vlogger, as he has his own YouTube channel where he documents his travels and experiences. Furthermore, he is multilingual as he speaks English, Greek and Russian. He is also a big supporter of AEK Athens, his native Greek football club.