Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: GRAHAM DENHOLM / GETTY IMAGES
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: GRAHAM DENHOLM / GETTY IMAGES

Melbourne — Few players have looked capable of breaking the stranglehold Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have had on Grand Slams over the past 15 years but if anyone can end their reign in 2020 it is likely to be Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 21-year-old Greek has exceeded expectations in each of his campaigns, shooting up to No 6 in the world rankings and ending 2019 by winning the coveted ATP Finals crown.

With an exciting all-round game and incredible athleticism, Tsitsipas has quickly become the player to watch on the men’s Tour, taking much of the spotlight from other young Grand Slam contenders including 26-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem and German Alexander Zverev, 22.

Tsitsipas broke into the top 50 in 2018, winning his first ATP title and finishing the year with the NextGen trophy. He topped that in 2019 by reaching the Australian Open semifinals and winning three more titles, including the ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas said recently one of his goals for 2020 was to win a Grand Slam title.

“But it is not a matter of life or death for me. My goals are to win a Grand Slam title, finish inside the top three by the end of the year, qualify for the ATP Finals again and win a Masters 1000.”

Tsitsipas, who bounced back from a mid-season slump in 2019, started the season with a straight-sets win over Zverev after losing to Denis Shapovalov in his ATP Cup opener.

That defeat will no doubt serve as a warning that the 20-year-old Canadian left-hander is also one to reckon with after leading his country to the Davis Cup final in 2019 and also winning his first title in Stockholm.

Thiem, who lost to Nadal in the last two French Open finals, will have his work cut out to make an impact at the Australian Open, but the clay-court specialist says the top three have not had it all their own way in the last couple of seasons.

“I think we challenged them already a lot. We also beat them especially on Masters 1000 stages and the ATP Finals,” said Thiem. “The last stage we have to conquer is the Grand Slam stage, and I really think we’ll see a new Grand Slam champion in 2020.”

Reuters

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