Tsitsipas is a Greek tennis player. He is considered one of the best young prospects to come through in years, with many people comparing him to Tsonga and Verdasco. His worst surface by far is clay, where he struggles against everyone except for Kyrgios. But on grass and especially hard courts, he has been doing very well this year, beating Goffin in Toronto and pushing Federer all the way at the Australian Open. In fact, it was a masterpiece that Federer put on him in that fourth set tiebreak – perhaps his best ever performance in a big match – that propelled Federer back into Djokovic’s head-to-head advantage after 10 years. So it seems like we have another Greek who will be a perennial contender for slams, and we’re very excited to see him.
Tsitsipas just turned 20 in April 2018: he’s the same age as the three other Ts on tour (Tsonga, Tiafoe, and Auger-Aliassime). He was 18 when he first started breaking through, making the third round of an ATP 250 tournament at home in Greece against Dimitrov (he lost), and had his first big result soon after at Acapulco (l. to Monfils). He made it into the top 200 this year despite spending some time away from the tour with a shoulder injury; he also has no points to defend until June 2019.
Style of Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas is a very all-court player – probably more so than the other Ts in fact because he has much better service and a better return. His forehand is great to watch: solid mechanics and big top-spin create some impressive whip action when he needs it. His backhand isn’t quite as reliable but I think it’s still above average for an 18-year-old. He can slice or face-off if needed and doesn’t have many weaknesses off that side at all – although his one vs one defense could be improved slightly by adding variety with slice backhands from time to time rather than simply blasting everything crosscourt/down the line every time. As with all players, Tsitsipas’ net game is his biggest weakness/counterpoint to the greatness of his ground game. But this kid is incredibly athletic (he was also a promising basketball player) and he has more than one trick in his bag when it comes to volleying – I’ve seen him get some impressive touches at times.
Game of Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas has shown that he’s able to beat big servers on crunch time points (RBA 12), hold steady against Federer (RBA 16), play nice drop shots vs Raonic (QF 7), and hit some huge ungettable forehands flying everywhere vs Dimitrov (SF 5). He’s got great footwork and good speed, so I expect that when he gets stronger physically, his all-around consistency will push him into the very highest echelons of the game.
Tsitsipas rank in the current pecking order
He doesn’t have much of a track record against top 10 players yet: Tsitsipas’ only wins over top 10 opponents were at 17 years old in Acapulco (l. to Monfils) and in Toronto (d. Goffin), where Tsitsipas played one of his career-best matches to date. But if we compare stats, we can see that although Federer is better than Dimitrov or Raonic on the hard court by far – may be about equal to Goffin – he has a less impressive win % on grass and especially clay than Dimitrov and Raonic. So, I think we can probably expect Tsitsipas to be an all-around threat in slams by 2020 or 2021 at the latest, but it’s hard to imagine him beating Djokovic this year unless Novak is feeling particularly shaky.