For many years now, the world of men’s tennis has been waiting for the new generation of players to triumph over the old guard. That time may now have arrived.
The 21-year-old Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas was crowned the ATP champion last Sunday, following a thrilling victory against another “newish” generation player, 26-year-old Austrian, Dominic Thiem. It was the young Greek’s most significant win of his career.
Long live the old maestros
Of course, the old maestros, Federer and Nadal still have plenty to say about who is the best in terms of the ATP world rankings. 33-year-old Rafael Nadal is number one with 9,985 points. 32-year-old Novak Djokovic is in second place with 9,145 points and the granddaddy of them all, 38-year-old Roger Federer, is in third with 6,590. The beaten ATP finalist, Dominic Thiem sits in 4th place in the rankings on 5,825 points, while Stefanos Tsitsipas is in 6th with 5,300 points.
Nadal is the king of clay
Rafael Nadal, who is known as the king of clay, took the Roland Garros crown back in June this year when he won the tournament for a record 12th time. The losing finalist on that occasion too was Dominic Thiem. Nadal then went on to win the US Open last September when he beat the 23-year-old Russian, Daniil Medvedev (another of the new generation players, currently 5th in the ATP rankings) in five sets.
The importance of Grand Slam victories
The domination of the top ATP rankings is mostly down to the older, established champions winning grand slams. If Tsitsipas and Medvedev are to topple the old guard finally, they are going to have to start sharing a few grand slam titles between them.
But by taking the ATP crown with such a great display of tennis, the young Tsitsipas is looking more and more like the most probable to make the breakthrough. He may be slightly lower than Medvedev in the rankings, but he is two years younger. His fine form at the O2 certainly suggests that he is the most likely to end the domination of the “ancien régime.”
First, though, he has to start winning some grand slams. The closest he has come so far was the Australian Open where he managed to defeat Roger Federer on his way to the semi-final, where he lost to Nadal in three straight sets.
The swashbuckling Greek God
One thing is for sure, and that is that the Greek has precisely what it takes to get to the top. With his dashing good looks, his long blond hair and his sweatband; he is reminiscent of a certain young Swede – Bjorn Borg. Besides his talent and armoury of shots, he has a great personality, and he has become a favourite with the crowds. But he is not vain.
When it comes to the male tennis player likely to spend the most time in front of the mirror, according to the Daily Express the title went to Rafael Nadal. The “voting” came from a set of impromptu interviews with the eight male tennis stars who competed in the ATP finals.
Nadal’s first vote came from pretty boy Stefanos Tsitsipas and was followed up by votes from Djokovic and Federer. The Swiss, however, was voted the most likely to weep at a romantic movie and the player most likely to make you laugh.