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Tsitsipas Returns to Winner's Circle

Tsitsipas Returns to Winner's Circle
April 14, 2024
He referred to it as the "trinity" and when he signed the camera lens at the end of the final, he wrote "fate favours fearless". It has been a bit of a journey for Stefanos Tsitsipas over recent months. The results he would expect of himself have not been there and he dropped out of the top ten as well so at the end of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters he could be forgiven for shedding a tear or two.

Tsitsipas won his third Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in the last four years having claimed the title in 2021 and 2022 and it is his eleventh career title and first since Los Cabos in 2023.

The 25-year-old Greek levelled his head-to-head series with Casper Ruud at 2-2 after defeating the Norwegian 6-1, 6-4 on one hour 36 minutes at the Monte Carlo Country Club with its glorious views across the Mediterranean Sea.

"I did need a week like this a lot, especially the rough months that I have been through the last half of 2023 until now," Tsitsipas said. "It hasn't been the best of times in terms of where I wanted to be, so getting back here and winning the title is something that I was definitely not aiming for and it came naturally.

"Winning this tournament three times is something I would have never imagined. Even when I first got it the first time, I obviously thought it was a great feeling and that place is special towards me. But getting the Holy Trinity, as I call it, is something that I will fully cherish it and take the most out of this moment."

Tsitsipas broke serve in the third game of the final and while he was challenged on occasions on his serve, he always looked like he would get out of trouble. By comparison Ruud, who was hoping to win his first big title and be the first Scandinavian to win the event since Mats Wilander in 1987, was making way too many errors.

Ruud had his serve broken three times in the first set, and he double faulted on set point. That was ironic because in the semifinal when he faced Novak Djokovic he "prayed" Djokovic would double fault on match point, and he did to give Ruud his first ever win over a reigning world No.1, and his first ever win over Djokovic.

In the second set Tsitsipas faced break points in the first and third games, but it was the seventh game when it seemed like he would manage to clinch victory. Tsitsipas was up 40/0 when Ruud rallied and had three break point but was not able to convert and he held for 4-3. That was Ruud's last chance.

"It was not the best start unfortunately," admitted Ruud. "Obviously I was broken early. I had a few chances to break back. I didn't get it. Was always kind of playing defensively, coming on the back foot, coming from behind.

"Yeah, didn't really get the game going unfortunately. Stef played well. He played aggressive, fantastic with the forehand, and playing also really well with the backhand today, I think. So, I didn't really find any holes in his game. Yeah, I didn't play good enough. Simple as that. I think there were a few maybe small chances in the second where I had again some break chances, breakpoints, but when you don't convert, it's tough to win the matches."

This marks the third time in his career that Stefanos has defeated three top ten players at a singles event - earlier in Monte Carlo he accounted for Alexander Zverev and handed Jannik Sinner just his second loss of the year in the semifinals.

Tsitsipas has become just the fifth player in the open era, which dates back to 1968, to win the Monte Carlo title three or more times; he joins Rafa Nadal with eleven and it was three each for Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase.

The win has also sent Tsitsipas back into the top ten and for a six week period in February-March of this year, for the first time in the open era, there was not one single handed backhand player in the top ten - now there are two, Tsitsipas has joined Grigor Dimitrov.

The doubles title was claimed by the Belgian combination of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 5-7, 6-3, 10/5 over Marcelo Melo and Alexander Zverev.

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