VEDANT SHARMA | 6 FEBRUARY, 2019
Some day he will let the sport be loved even in the absence of the Big Three
Let’s write about Stefanos Tsitsipas today. Let’s write about him tomorrow. Let’s not forget to write about him the day after that, and in days to come.
For once the next big tournament starts you may be unable to write about this fresh talent, as the limelight again shifts to the old guard - the game’s big three.
So here, just for a moment, let’s turn the clock back to the Australian Open quarterfinal between Tsitsipas and Roger Federer. The moment the 20-year-old realised the game had ended in his favor, he dropped his racket to the court and stood there shaking his head in disbelief, perhaps wondering how he had managed to outplay Federer, his hero.
The gesture made him stand out from the crowd, and it wouldn't be wrong to say that Tsitsipas is here to stay, for long.
Will write it here again: he’s just 20.
Born into a tennis family, some would say Tsitsipas was destined to play with athleticism and impeccable technique. But that’s not the case with every child born into a sports family. So part of the answer must lie in his attitude of working with full fortitude on the field, with a respect for the sport that makes him so special.
If we look at the record books, we learn Tsitsipas is the youngest player in the history of tennis to be ranked in the Top 20 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He currently occupies 12th place, putting him just 6 ranks below his idol.
And, he’s just 20.
All eyes will definitely be on Tsitsipas in upcoming tournaments - though the expectation to win and lay hands on the coveted trophy is still very much with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
Looking at the current scenario in tennis, that may not be such a bad thing. Federer is 37, Nadal is 32, and Djokovic 31, so Tsitsipas has a few years yet to quietly notch up victories and reach the highest echelon of the sport in due time.
The Australian Open gave everyone a glimpse of what he is capable of. Going forward it's important that he play to his own set standards, by performing constantly, irrespective of the conditions.
In a little over three month’s time the French Open will begin, presenting an opportunity to the youngster to turn his Australian Open semifinalist tag into a French Open finalist.
Or maybe even come out a champion - Who knows?
Even if he fails to deliver, fans know of what Tsitsipas is capable of. Some day he will let the sport be loved even in the absence of the Big Three.
Tennis is lucky to have Stefanos Tsitsipas.
And let me write this one last time, he is just ‘20’.
Let him be him!