Posted on April 20 2021
Stefanos Tsitsipas won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo over the weekend. Here at All Things Tennis, we’re going to keep you informed on the latest tennis news, products and results.
The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters is a prestigious tournament on the ATP calendar and one that has been notoriously hard to win over the past 15 years. Only Djokovic, Wawrinka and Fognini have been able to break Rafael Nadal’s stranglehold on this tournament since 2005. Now Stefanos Tsitsipas’s name can be added to that exclusive list.
Tsitsipas emphatically beat Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Sunday to claim his first Masters 1000 title, Rublev being the man who knocked out a below par Nadal at the quarter final stage. This victory leaves Tsitsipas with six ATP titles and has catapulted him into first place in the rankings race to Turin.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Stefanos’s victory in Monaco is the manner in which it was achieved. He didn’t drop a set all week despite facing a barrage of top-quality opponents. The tone was set in his first match when he dispatched a red-hot Aslan Karatsev, losing just 7 games. Tsitsipas then swept aside the rest of the draw with ruthless efficiency.
Tsitsipas reiterated in his post-match press conference that clay is still is favourite surface, and it makes sense. His major weakness that’s pointed out by many tennis pundits is his backhand return. He doesn’t have a good block return in his arsenal and this can lead to errors, especially when his opponents serve to his backhand side. On clay he has more time to set up for his full backhand swing when returning serve, thus making his game that much more impermeable. He’s also incredibly proficient at creating extreme angles with his shots, a style of play that’s richly rewarded on a high bouncing clay court.
Stefanos is assisted in his clay court game by his Wilson Blade 98 (16x19) V7 Unstrung, which is a flexible frame designed for maximum feel and consistency. Heavy topspin is not the only thing you need to be successful on a clay court and Tsitsipas proved that this week with his game style.
With a newfound confidence, Tsitsipas will now be a huge threat at the remaining two clay court Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome. It may be fair to say that he’s ‘in the mix’ at this year’s French Open. Although despite Rafa’s poor performance last week, Nadal continues to be the overwhelming favourite for 2021’s second Slam in Paris.