Stefanos Tsitsipas is excited about the future of his tennis, and he’s also excited about where the sport is headed. After his victory over Dominic Thiem on Wednesday at Rogers Cup, the 19-year-old Greek spoke about ATP’s Next Gen, saying that there’s quite a bit of competiton and camaraderie fueling the group, and pushing them higher in 2018.
“First of all, they’re all great guys, so it’s great to share a locker room with a bunch of motivated guys that are actually pretty nice and, you know, fun to be around,” Tsitsipas said. “So it’s a good atmosphere in the locker room.”
Tsitsipas, who is looking to improve his current ranking of 27 and will face Novak Djokovic in round of 16 on Thursday in Toronto, says it’s unbelievable to start his career with the game’s greatest forces still in control at the top of the rankings.
“And I just think it’s such an unbelievable era of tennis, one of the best, I think, in the history because you saw the legends like Roger and Rafa and, you know, Novak, Murray, all these guys still playing,” he said. “Whereas, you have guys like [Alexander] Zverev and me and [Andrey] Rublev and Frances [Tiafoe], all these young guys coming up that are so good and breaking into the top 30s and top 50s, stuff like this.”
Tsitsipas says that the strength of the field leads to exciting tennis, week-in and week-out, like at last week’s Citi Open where four players aged 21 and younger contested the semifinals at an ATP event for the first time since 1995.
— Stefanos Tsitsipas (@StefTsitsipas) August 4, 2018
“So it’s unbelievable where the tennis level is at now,” he said. “Every week you’ll have crazy matches, and it’s a really exciting time of tennis. You know, and I feel like the young generation, we all kind of push each other because we’re all so motivated. We’re young. We want to play every week and do better than each other.”
It’s a healthy environment, says Tsitsipas, who fell to Zverev in straight sets last week in the semis at Washington, D.C., and it is the competition that is fueling the rise of the ATP’s generation next.
“So it’s a really healthy rivalry, and I feel that’s why we’ve all come so far in such a short period of time,” he said. “We’re all just pushing each other to do better and work harder.”