Stefanos Tsitsipas is one match-win away from making his top-10 debut and the 20-year-old admits he is thinking about that potential milestone “every day”.
Tsitsipas extended his winning streak to seven consecutive matches on Thursday with a hard-earned 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-1 success against Hubert Hurkacz in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-finals.
The young Greek arrived late to Dubai after winning the Marseille title last Sunday but has managed to keep up his form to set up a semi-final showdown with Gael Monfils, who is on a winning streak of his own, having lifted the trophy in Rotterdam earlier this month, before making the last-four in the Emirates, making it eight victories in a row for the Frenchman.
“What it means? I’m thinking about it almost every day,” Tsitsipas said with a smile about the prospect of breaking the top-10 for the first time.
“I want it badly. I want it to happen very much. I know I’ll have to win a couple of crucial matches to get there. The point difference is pretty big. I’m going to have to dominate more.
“It’s a good motivation because I’m so close, to get it as early as possible. Me personally, I feel like I have the game to be there already, maybe even in the future, but as soon as possible. It’s better if it happens as soon as possible.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas on his social media fast:
“I was just sick & tired of all those messages, all those people talking about me. All the notifications, like, I felt my brain blocked. I felt like I couldn’t process all of that information coming to me”pic.twitter.com/Iz7Wya94TY
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) February 26, 2019
Before the start of this season, Tsitsipas told Sport360 during his training block in Dubai he had four main goals for 2019: Reaching a Grand Slam semi-final, cracking the top-10, winning a Masters 1000 title and qualifying for the year-end ATP Finals in London.
He already crossed the first goal off of his bucket list when he reached the semis at the Australian Open last month and is now ever so close to checking the second item on that list.
Having such lofty goals can sometimes apply added pressure to a player but Tsitsipas seems to thrive on ambition and has amassed an impressive 14-4 win-loss record just eight weeks into the new year.
“I had a great preseason in Dubai this year. I was confident I can do well because I worked a lot. I was not sure if my rivals or the rest of the players were working that hard on court every single day. I felt like I was doing a great job,” explained Tsitsipas.
“It was part of my goals, to practice so hard and do fitness every day, hours and hours on the court, loading. That actually helped me with my confidence, knowing that I worked hard. I’m starting the new season dynamic.”
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) December 22, 2018
Tsitsipas is 1-1 head-to-head against Monfils, and lost their most recent meeting in the Sofia quarter-finals earlier this month.
Monfils will be contesting his third consecutive semi-final in 2019 and is 12-2 win-loss this season.
“I think it’s a different match now. We’re not playing in altitude with heavy balls. It’s completely different. The court is pretty slow,” Tsitsipas said of his upcoming semi-final against Monfils.
“We’re both serving really well. We have similar game style. I guess I’m a bit more aggressive than him, but he’s much faster. I’m going to have to deal with all of that, be patient, play with passion as well, just wait for the opportunities to break him.
“I think I’m going to have to serve well. Is it tomorrow? Yeah, tomorrow. I think I’m going to have to serve well to win that match. If I don’t serve well, I’ll have trouble.”
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) February 27, 2019