Monte-Carlo: Tsitsipas completes his "Holy Trinity"

The Greek lifted his third Monte-Carlo Masters title in four years in the Principality.

Stefanos Tsitsipas / Finale Monte-Carlo 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

With the likes of Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz dominating the headlines, with Jannik Sinner simply soaring this season, Stefanos Tsitsipas has been somewhat out of the limelight. 

Not any more. A compelling week at the Monte-Carlo Masters has ignited the 25-year-old's charge towards Roland-Garros 2024.

Three is the magic number

Adding to his 2021 and 2022 title triumphs, Stefanos Tsitsipas was hailed champion once again in the Principality with a dominant 6-1, 6-4 dismissal of Casper Ruud on Sunday.

Remember Ruud had defeated the likes of Hubert Hurkacz, Ugo Humbert and world No.1 Djokovic in the earlier rounds. Tsitsipas nullified all of Ruud's weapons and halted his momentum with alert, proactive tennis.

As a result, the world No.7 became just the fifth man to rule Monte-Carlo three or more times in the Open Era, joining Rafael Nadal (11 titles), Bjorn Borg (3), Thomas Muster (3), and Ilie Nastase (3) with the triple crown.

The tears were flowing, the relief was radiant, as Tsitsipas cherished a return to the winner's circle.

“If I have to compare my level of tennis with the last two times that I have won here, I would probably say this time has been the best that I have come up with some incredible tennis,” said Tsitsipas.

“You can easily say, ‘Stef, you won the first time here (2021) without dropping a set, wouldn't that be the best performance that you have had in Monte-Carlo?’ I would tell you, ‘Not exactly’.

“I had an opponent in the semi-finals that is a world-class tennis player right now who refused to lose to anyone, and he's been on a very good streak. So, overcoming that obstacle, it's definitely a sign that my tennis is progressing and I'm able to push those players.”

As Tsitsipas stated, last week in Monte-Carlo proved he's on the right track, having toppled some top-tier rivals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas / Finale Monte-Carlo 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

A 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Tomas Martin Etcheverry set the tone. Tsitsipas then edged No.5 seed Alexander Zverev 7-5, 7-6(3) and then offered up only six games to Karen Khachanov. Into the semi-finals, Tsitsipas prevailed in a hot-shot rich 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 tussle with the 'man of the moment,' Sinner.

Taking down Sinner and then Ruud, the 2022-2023 finalist at Roland-Garros, is reassuring for the 25-year-old, but he is adamant more is to come this clay campaign.

“It’s definitely a sign that I'm there and the consistency's showing, and definitely I'm capable of big things. I just need to keep an open mind, keep improving, because if you don't improve, things tend to fluctuate and not quite go towards the same path that I'm building towards,” added Tsitsipas.

“I saw a few things today I feel like I can improve on. I usually say that perhaps after losses, but even after wins there is plenty to learn from. What I can take from that is there are a few bits and pieces that I can add to my game that can help me even better.”

The Greek arrived at the clay court Masters 1000 event with a 11-6 match record this season and ranked down at No.12. For a player of his calibre, achievements and expectations, this was off the mark.

Back in the Top 10, back in the groove on the terre battue.

“I did need a week like this a lot, especially (after) the rough months that I have been through the last half of 2023 until now," admitted the world No.7.

"It hasn't been the best of times in terms of where I wanted to be, so getting back here and winning the title is something that I was definitely not aiming for and it came naturally.

"Winning this tournament three times is something I would have never imagined… But getting the Holy Trinity, as I call it, is something that I will fully cherish it and take the most out of this moment."

Stefanos Tsitsipas & Casper Ruud / Finale Monte-Carlos 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Next on the Road to Roland-Garros

Over on the WTA, world no.1 Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka spearhead the action at the Stuttgart Open this week.

Within the ATP ranks, fans hope to welcome back record 12-time champion Rafael Nadal to competitive action in Barcelona. The Hall-of-Fame Spaniard is set to take on Flavio Cobolli in the opening round on Tuesday.

However, Carlos Alcaraz won't be able to defend his title. The world No.3 has been forced to withdraw from Barcelona with an ongoing right arm injury.