Stefanos Tsitsipas after passing Rafael Nadal: ‘I have worked hard to achieve this’

Stefanos Tsitsipas will compete in Toronto this week as a top-3 player for the first time in a career. The Greek replaced Rafael Nadal in the mentioned group,l sending the Spaniard out after over four years and achieving one of his goals for the 2021 season. Stefanos became the 13th active top-3 player, joining some prominent names on that list and feeling proud of his achievement that came after hard and dedicated work. At the beginning of the season, Tsitsipas was over 4000 points behind Nadal on the ATP ranking list, melting that deficit in the opening five and a half months and using Nadal’s weaker results to stand in front of him for the first time in his young career. Tsitsipas beat Nadal from two sets to love down in the Australian Open quarter-finals and gathered points while the Spaniard took a break after Melbourne. The Greek claimed the first Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo and had a match point versus Rafa in the Barcelona Open final, only to lose after over three and a half hours.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the new world no. 3.

Nadal won the title in Rome, but his top-3 spot was in danger again following the Roland Garros semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic. Tsitsipas was Djokovic’s rival in the title clash, advancing into his first Major final and building two sets to love advantage to move a step away from the crown. As it turned out, that step was a mighty length one, with Djokovic winning the following three sets to secure the 19th Major crown and leave Stefanos empty-handed. The Greek could not leave that tough encounter behind quickly, not playing well at Wimbledon and suffering three early exits, including the Olympic Games. Despite that, Tsitsipas did enough to pass Nadal and become world no. 3 following Rafa’s third-round failure in Washington last week. 

“Being at the ranking that I will be tomorrow is a huge motivation and an excellent indication that I’ve done great so far. I’m just generally blessed that I’ve put in so much work to make it to the top-3, which I would consider quite a special milestone. That top-10 breakthrough was a great dream of mine. The top-3 group is on its own and something completely different. My purpose in doing this is self-improvement and becoming a better person through tennis, so it matters. I wake up every single day intending to get better with my tennis and in the sport that I chose to follow in my life. I’m thrilled I get to play that sport and get to inspire people to do what I do. I’m feeling good about my game, and I’m delighted to be back in Toronto, one of my favorite places on the calendar. The location is exactly as I remember it. I’m just generally happy to be competing here again,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said.