Stefanos Tsitsipas says he’s setting a “realistic” goal to try and beat Rafael Nadal on clay in 2021, possibly at the French Open.
The Greek world number six, who’s beaten the so-called ‘King of Clay’ once, at the Madrid Masters in 2019, says he’d ‘love’ to earn victory over the 13-time Roland Garros champion, who’s only ever lost twice from 102 appearances at the Paris Grand Slam.
Tsitsipas, who’s in quarantine preparing for the Australian Open in Melbourne, has been setting out some of his ambitions for the year ahead.
“A really good goal would be maybe to beat Rafa on clay, or at Roland-Garros, that would be a really nice goal,” Tsitsipas told rolandgarros.com.
I think everyone would love that, especially me. He’s such a difficult player to play against, very difficult, very consistent, incredible fighting spirit. I consider myself a fighter but he’s completely next level, incomparable. That would be a realistic, I hope, goal, not too much to ask.
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“They don’t call Rafa the most difficult player to beat accidentally, there is something behind it,” Tsitsipas added.
“For me personally, he has a very heavy ball and he is just anticipating very well, very good movement on the court as well. He spins, his agility on the court is very impressive and the way he fights, he’s just never going to give up, that makes him very very difficult.”
Tsitsipas, is able to train on court in Melbourne for a limited period each day, unlike the players who are in ‘hard quarantine’ who arrived on flights which carried passengers who’ve since tested positive for coronavirus.
A keen filmmaker, Tsitsipas is using some of his down-time to work on his music.
“I can deal with it. I’m not complaining. I’m strong mentally, I can handle pressure,” he said.
“It’s an extra reason for me to put in more creative, deeper work that hasn’t really been considered before. So there’s a bonus.”