Major talk was too big, says Tsitsipas; no desire to play without fans: Kvitova - GulfToday

Major talk was too big, says Tsitsipas; no desire to play without fans: Kvitova


Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas says slam talks put extra pressure on him. Reuters

Stefanos Tsitsipas set himself the target of claiming a Grand Slam title in 2020 after winning last year’s season-ending ATP Finals but the young Greek feels that in hindsight the statement was “too big” and burdened him with extra pressure.

Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have shared all the Grand Slams between them since Swiss Stan Wawrinka triumphed at the 2016 US Open and Tsitsipas has been marked as one of the few players capable of breaking that stranglehold.

The 21-year-old is ranked number six in the world and had announced he was “really close” to being crowned a Grand Slam champion after his triumph in the ATP Finals, which is contested by the top eight singles players and doubles teams.

“Looking back to that I think this was too big of a statement to be taken seriously. I shouldn’t be looking so far so soon,” Tsitsipas was quoted as saying by the Tennis Majors website.

“For sure, I want it to come, but I should be talking about stuff like this less often and concentrate on the present.

“I guess I just put too much pressure on myself, aiming so high and I just have to take it step by step, not think too much about the future and be irrational,” he added.

Tsitsipas has made some giant strides in his young career and reached the Australian Open semi-finals and the fourth round of the French Open in 2019.

The Greek, who has been tipped by Djokovic as a future world number one, said he would have to learn to wait for his chance.

“I say it every single time like it’s the only thing I want to achieve in my life,” he said.

“For sure it is. My theory behind it is that if you think about it too much it might as well never happen, so just relax and enjoy the process.”

Meanwhile, professional tennis has been in cold storage since March due to the coronavirus pandemic with tournaments unlikely to resume before August. Even before the sports resumes amid pandemic, many questions remain to be answered. When Tennis re-starts it will face certain challenges both off and on the court.  

Fans in or out at US Open and Roland Garros? -- In 2019, the US Open attracted a record crowd of almost 740,000 to its sprawling Billie Jean King Tennis Centre in New York.

The French Open last year at Roland Garros brought in 520,000 paying customers.

However, the 2020 editions of the two remaining Grand Slam events on the calendar will look very different with the chance of them being played behind closed doors a real possibility to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Roger Federer, whose 20-Grand Slam title haul includes five titles at the US Open and one in Paris, is not keen on seeing rows and rows of empty seats.

“I can’t bear to see an empty stadium. I hope that won’t happen,” the Swiss star was quoted as saying by Brazilian media recently.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova said she too has no desire to play a Slam with without spectators.

“I would like to play another Grand Slam, but if it’s like this, I’d rather cancel them,” Kvitova said.

“Playing without fans who are our engine doesn’t look nice to me and the Grand Slam doesn’t deserve it.”

As far as the rescheduled Roland Garros in September and October is concerned, Jean-Francois Vilotte, the director-general of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), said.

“The aim is that there will be spectators. But we will have the capacity to organise Roland Garros whatever the option decided, including behind closed doors.”

Money matters? -- There has been no prize money to play for over the best part of three months but that hasn’t stopped it being discussed.


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