The ATP Tour never stands still for long and, for Stefanos Tsitsipas, this means being prepared to adjust to whatever the season throws at him.
The World No. 4’s last match was his Australian Open semi-final against Daniil Medvedev, played out in the Melbourne heat. In preparing to take on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament, the World No. 4 is wary of the markedly different conditions in Rotterdam.
“It takes a little bit more time to adjust here, having played outdoors for a long time,” said Tsitsipas in his pre-tournament press conference. “It’s always tricky coming back and playing indoors, so I think a few days of practice will definitely help adjust to these new conditions.”
The top seed has nonetheless proven he can make this exact switch seamlessly before, reaching the semi-finals in Rotterdam in 2021 (l. to Rublev) having also advanced to the lat four in Melbourne a couple of weeks prior. The Greek takes great pride in his ability to perform consistently across different playing conditions.
“I think I am able to play on all surfaces,” said Tsitsipas. “I don’t want to be a player that is only good on one surface. I’m capable of playing equally well on all surfaces and earn points on all the surfaces that the ATP has to offer every season.”
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Tsitsipas’ first hurdle in Rotterdam will be a second ATP Tour-level meeting with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Greek won the pair’s only previous encounter, in the 2021 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finals, although Davidovich Fokina was forced to retire after the first set on that occasion. The seven-time tour-level titlist will not be taking anything for granted in their first-round clash.
“I think first rounds are always the most challenging,” said Tsitsipas. “Having to play in new conditions…this is something that has to be dealt with well. Alejandro has had good results. He obviously hasn’t reached his full potential yet, but he is on the way. [He is] a strong opponent and he’s going to try and bring the best out of his game.”
Tsitsipas will be seeking to continue his excellent start to 2022 after undergoing elbow surgery as recently as November. He will be boosted in that objective by the return of spectators after a year away in Rotterdam. “I can’t wait to have the fans back,” said Tsitsipas. “The more people that can come, the better.”