After an outstanding breakthrough 2019 season the following year was always going to be a bigger test. Even without what he has happened this year and without the usual structure of the season it has felt in 2020 something was missing for Stefanos Tsitsipas.
I think back to 2019 and I think of the win over Federer in Melbourne, run in Madrid and that win over Nadal which I was there for, performance against Djokovic in Shanghai and bringing it all together winning the ATP Finals on debut.
When I think of his 2019 season I think about his incredible level of tennis but it is his mental and intensity which was utterly flawless, this year there were flaws.
Not for a moment did I expect the same level from Stefanos and that isn’t doing a dis-service to him at all, I love watching him play and am a massive fan but throughout the season it felt flat.
There have been performances in 2020 where I have thought that Stefanos should have won but intensity towards the end of sets was missing.
Even in Jan at the ATP Cup there were close matches he lost but played better in but let himself down in tie-breaks. The intensity is there in the sets but it isn’t reaping rewards and chances are being wasted or not created.
I know that the 2020 schedule was majorly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic but in tie-breaks this year the Greek won 13 and lost 12 which isn’t the worst but far of last years number. In 2019 he had more matches but last year he won 33 tie-breaks and lost 12.
This year it was the same amount lost but twenty less won by the Greek, more matches would have most likely meant more tie-breaks but also more lost.
I find him fun and exciting to watch, he can be flashy behind the backhand but it is when he gets his forehand going he is at his best and able to move up the court and be a menace at the net.
I do think part of the dip this year might have been players have worked him out a little, after a breakthrough year people take more notice. He does get targeted in that backhand corner and needs to work on that as well as converting chances.
Over the last 52 weeks Tsitsipas is ranked about 63 in the world for converting break point chances, they are coming but not being utilised. He had six match points in New York to Coric and lost, made a mess of his first round in Paris but made the semi-finals where it did drop off against Djokovic in the final moments.
I didn’t expect Tsitsipas to defend his long title this year, he wasn’t playing at the level of last year but showed promise taking all his matches to three sets but winning just one against Andrey Rublev.
That is the challenge for 2021 no matter what the calendar is looking like is finding that intensity in his game again, bulking up behind that backhand defence and playing with less pressure and I feel once he has that all brought together he will be tough to stop!