One of the great revelations of 2018 and already a reality in 2019 is the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, a young talent from a country with hardly any precedent in this sport that has caused a sensation due to his progress, his self-confidence and the quality of some of his shots. He finished last season 15th in the world ranking.
Son of tennis players (Apostolos Tsitsipas is his coach and Julia Salnikova was a leading tennis player of the Soviet Union in the 80s) and grandson of an Olympic champion in football (Sergei Salnikov with the USSR in Melbourne 1956), Stefanos was destined to be a star of the sport, although few believed that he would achieve it so soon. He appeared in the top-100 of world tennis in 2017 and at the end of that season was the 91 best player in the circuit.
In 2018, the year in which he became known, he progressed rapidly and reached the top-50 in April, coinciding with his final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, the top-30 in May and the top-20 in August, after his other great final, at the Masters 1000 of Toronto and facing the same rival, Rafael Nadal. In November he proclaimed himself master of the Next Gen in Milan by winning the second edition of this tournament reserved for the futures stars of tennis.
In the Rogers Cup of the Canadian city, the Greek played the best tennis of the year and defeated consecutively four top-10 Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev (quarterfinals) and Kevin Anderson (semifinal). He was unable to beat Nadal in the final, the same outcome as in the Barcelona final.
And again Nadal was his first big opponent in 2019, in the semifinal of the Australian Open. Tsitsipas had defeated no one less that than Roger Federe in the round of 16, but could not do the same against the Majorcan, who unabled his way to the final after a tournament that confirmed the great talent of the Greek. Few later added his second ATP title in Marseille and then reached the Top 10 after advancing to the final of Dubai.
At 20 years of age, the future belongs to this player born in Athens who resides in Nicosia, Cyprus, and trains regularly in the Patrick Mouratoglou academy in the south of France. In his biography highlights a fact that fortunately had no tragic consequences. He was close to drowning while swimming during a Futures tournament in the Greek city of Heraklion before being saved by his father.
"Stef", as he is known on the circuit, had a brilliant end to his 2018 campaign, earning his first ATP title in Stockholm and winning in the Next Gen ATP finals in Milan.