Inside Tsitsipas’ 2022 clay-court campaign

 - Alex Sharp

The Roland-Garros 2021 finalist continues to chalk up impressive results on the terre battue.

© Ray Giubilo/FFT

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been on the cusp of major glory for a few seasons now.

Rewind to last summer and the philosophical Greek was two sets up on Novak Djokovic in the Roland-Garros final. The world No.1 prevailed with a herculean effort, but despite the heartache, it proved Tsitsipas is poised for a very promising future in Paris.

On the Road to Roland-Garros this season, the 23-year-old has dazzled once again with Masters 1000 silverware to his name.

Let’s take a look at the world No.4’s statement build-up to Paris.

Consistently in the mix

How about this for a run of results. Tsitsipas began his clay court-campaign by defending his crown at the Monte Carlo Masters, losing just one set along the way.

Over to Barcelona the Greek was edged 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in a pulsating encounter with teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals, before a semi-final showing at the Madrid Masters.

Lastly, gladiatorial performances at the Rome Masters propelled Tsitsipas to the final, where an inspired Djokovic became champion once again.

17 matches on the red dirt, 14 wins, Tsitsipas is in fine fettle.

Stefanos Tsitsipas / Monte-Carlo 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Aiming big after going back-to-back

On the grounds of the first ever tennis tournament he watched as a fan, the 23-year-old joined a prestigious list of six players to reign back-to-back at the Monte Carlo Masters.

His results and battling qualities to “go over the limits” in the Principality had him gunning for the upper echelons of the rankings.

“If I'm able to win matches with the same consistency I do on this surface, I think I have a big chance of finishing the year in the top two, which is a huge goal of mine to be finally there and belong in that special group of players," said Tsitsipas.

A journey back into the second week in Paris would certainly help.

Roaring past rivals

A string of high-calibre opponents have been across the net from Tsitsipas throughout this clay stretch.

From his 14 victories, only two were ranked outside the top 50.

The eight-time titlist went 3-0 facing the graceful game of Grigor Dimitrov (including saving two match points during their Rome rumble last week).

The likes of Karen Khachanov, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev have all fallen to his expansive game, on top of that, the 23-year-old reeled in Diego Schwartzman from 0-4 in the deciding set of their compelling Monte-Carlo quarter-final clash. Tsitsipas edged a 2-1 mini-series with world No.3 Alexander Zverev too.

Seeking extra steps for RG 'marathon'

Not content with his standout clay-court showings thus far, the world No.4 is intent on fine-tuning and adapting to replicate his title contender form of 12 months ago.

“Right now, Alcaraz or Djokovic. They both play great, great tennis. I would put them as favourites,” declared Tsitsipas in Rome.

“I need to improve a few things in my game… I'd love myself to get around with these players. But I will really need to put a bit more attention to detail in the next couple of weeks.

“Roland-Garros is a marathon Grand Slam. It really takes the most out of you spiritually and physically when you're out on the court. Clay court has this ability to really squeeze every single part of you. You have to leave it, your all, out there.”

He’s run this Parisian marathon before with aplomb and appears in the form and mindset for another deep run at Roland-Garros.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic chatting during the trophy presentation at Roland-Garros 2021©Nicolas Gouhier/FFT