Confidence Is Key
I’m not sure there has been a better time in Stefanos Tsitsipas’s career for him to win a Grand Slam. After beating four of the top ten players in the world to win the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas’s confidence is at an all-time high. Not to mention 2019 was a breakout year for him, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open and winning two ATP 250 level tournaments. On top of this, he reached the finals of the Dubai, Madrid, and China Open (500, 1000, and 500 level tournaments respectively). In those three finals, he lost to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Dominic Thiem. Not bad losses in my opinion. So, to say that he had an exceptional 2019 would be an understatement. In fact, I have reason to believe that it will translate to not only a great 2020, but also his first Grand Slam title.
It’s High Time For High Expectations
Here’s some fun trivia for you diehard tennis fans. At what age did Roger Federer win his first Grand Slam? (Pause for Jeopardy music). If you answered “What is the age of 21?” you would be correct. Ironically, that is how old Tsitsipas is right now. In addition to this, Djokovic won his first Grand Slam at age 20 and Nadal did so at age 19. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s the Big 3,” “You can’t hold Tsitsipas to that standard,” “Those players are different.” And, if you think all three of those things, you’d be 67% correct. However, if you think Tsitsipas shouldn’t be held to their standard of greatness, you are wrong. Tsitsipas has shown that he not only wants to compete with the best but also beat them. Actually, after beating Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters, Tsitsipas referring to the “Big 3” said, “they are more threatened than I am.” He seriously thinks the “Big 3” is scared of him. If he wants the high expectations, here they come.
Tsitsipas’s Time Is Now
Who can beat Tsitsipas when he is at his best? Probably nobody. But, realistically, he can’t always play his best tennis, or not expect his opponent to play theirs. Even so, in a utopian world where every player plays their best match every time, only two players can beat Tsitsipas right now. Those two players are the red-hot Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Federer, Medvedev, and Thiem are formidable opponents. But, if Tsitsipas is at his best, he’s proved they don’t stand a chance. As for Djokovic and Nadal, they are super tough to beat at the moment, and especially in Grand Slams. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas has shown that he can beat both opponents on the big stages. In 2019, he beat Djokovic in two Masters 1000 tournaments and Nadal in one. And, even though it would be nice to get a good draw, I don’t think Tsitsipas needs one to win the Australian Open. Tsitsipas did struggle in the early rounds of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, but I think he will overcome that in 2020. As long as he isn’t playing a rising star like Alex De Minaur, Miomir Kecmanovic, or Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round, he will be fine. Then, once he makes it to the second week, Tsitsipas will be able to pull from his 2019 Australian Open experience to push through to the finals. In the finals, I predict that he will beat either Djokovic or Nadal (whichever isn’t on his side of the draw) to win his first Grand Slam.
Don’t Waste Your Time On What Ifs
What if Tsitsipas doesn’t win the Australian Open? What if Tsitsipas doesn’t perform well? What if Tsitsipas loses early again? Honestly, the only way the Australian Open is a complete failure for Tsitsipas is if he fails to make it past the first couple of rounds. If that’s not the case though, which I don’t think it will be, then there is a better case for “so what” than “what if.” For example, “He lost to Djokovic / Nadal, so what?” “He missed shots in the big moments, so what?” “He should’ve won this one, so what?” In all honesty, it can take time to learn to win at Grand Slams. If Tsitsipas can reach the finals of the Australian Open, that is a win in my book. In Tsitsipas’s hypothetical book, however, only a championship win will suffice. In conclusion, do I think Stefanos Tsitsipas will win the Australian Open? Yes. Do I think it’s the end of his career if he loses? Absolutely not!
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