It is the second time in the last two ATP Masters 1000 events that the champion is a first-time winner of one of these prestigious titles. Stefanos Tsitsipas, like Hubert Hurkacz did at the Miami Open, claimed the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters and in doing so became the first Greek player to win a Masters 1000.
“Nerve-wracking (is my feeling). It wasn't easy. I had to play great tennis to reach that moment of the match. It was all about fighting in the end,” Stefanos said. “The last point was just trying to play as deep as possible, press if the ball comes short. Yeah, I was doing exactly what I had to. The intentions were right. That gave me the last shot, which landed out.
“I think the rest, I just can't describe it. It was unbelievable. So many things went through my head. So many memories came back from when I was a child. It's incredible. I like expressing myself and showing emotion. I've seen players not react to their wins like this. It makes me feel good about myself. I need that.”
It took the popular Greek star one hour eleven minutes to claim the championship by defeating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 with the last point seeing a backhand from the Russian float wide. Tsitsipas raised his arms in victory and let out a yell in celebration. He became the 71st champion from the 275 Masters 1000’s that have been staged since the series started in 1990.
Interestingly, Tsitsipas and Rublev (both former world No.1 juniors – Rublev at 16 in 2014 and Tsitsipas at 17 in 2016) are the only two players so far in 2021 to have scored 20 or more wins – Tsitsipas now has 22 while Rublev has 24
This was a victory that is very special to the 22-year-old for a number of reasons. The first time he came to the famed Monte Carlo Country Club he was six years old; he lives much of the time not too far from the venue in Nice and it was 40 years ago, in 1981, that his mother Julie Salnikova won a junior title at the MCCC while representing the Soviet Union.
“I think first time I walked in that club, in the Monte Carlo Country Cub, with my mum, I think that was when I was six years old and she showed me (her) name up there,” Tsitsipas said. “I remember seeing it for the first time. I was, like, stunned. I was like, Wow, that is really cool. How cool is that?
“I didn't think about it in the beginning of the tournament, but it came to my mind when I was playing the semi-finals. I was thinking that would be really cool to be in this together, like mother like son. That's where the whole purpose came from. I feel like there was an enormous amount of willingness to want to do more in order to be there with my mum. If there's a person I would like to dedicate -- two people I would like to dedicate this is my coach back in Greece, and also my mum, because she pushed me to aim for that.”
While Stef was able to celebrate, Andrey Rublev naturally felt pretty down. He explained that he was very tired following some big matches that he had played during the week. The biggest leading towards the final was his quarterfinal clash with Rafa Nadal when he beat the eleven-time Monte Carlo champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn't show the game, I couldn't show fight, yeah, I didn't win,” Rublev said. “But, of course, I'm happy with the week because I beat so many great players. I beat one of the best players in history. So, of course, anyway it's a special week. Doesn't matter the final.
“Still, of course, even more after the matches like this, you want to win the title. Not always everything goes by your way. It didn’t happen today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that's it.”
The doubles final was a repeat of the Miami open final and it was also the same outcome as Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic defeated Dan Evans and Neal Skupski 6-3, 4-6, 10/7.