For Stefanos Tistipas the wait to a first Masters 1000 title goes on. Opportunity knocked this week with a number of profile players not in Miami and early exits for Medvedev and Zverev left the Greek as the top seed remaining at a stage in tournament but his run was ended before the semi-finals by Hubert Hurkacz.
The loss has signified a bigger problem of late for Tsitsipas. Yes, the Greek has won the ATP Finals in 2019 and was absolutely sensational in London but at ATP 500 and ATP 1000 level it isn’t happening for him.
Tsitsipas only made it to the quarter finals in Miami but in ATP 1000 finals is 0-2 and in ATP 500 finals is 0-6.
The eight losses have been against: Nadal, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Thiem, Djokovic, Rublev and Zverev which is quite a crop of players.
Do I think it is a problem? Slightly yes but I do think it’s one of those things that is just a matter of time and has to switch off that thought process when he does get to the latter stages.
Against Hurkacz I couldn’t believe what I was watching, he played with a great intensity and was serving very well and if anything it felt like everything had to be excellent and it got messy. Why was that? Was it because of the expectation as the highest seed remaining in one of the biggest tournaments on the tour? Maybe… Hurkacz to his credit did improve following a bad start and does play very measured and stays quite calm but with Stefanos too much was going on.
He allowed the utter nonsense at the end of the second set get to him and the umpire didn’t coat himself in glory. Tsitsipas was changing his shirt, sweatbands and headband at the end of the second set and the umpire asked him to speed up and he replied ‘if you give me a time violation bring out the referee’ so the umpire did and asked for the referee to come to court delaying the third set by a few minutes more. Lars Graf came out and had a quick 10 second chat with Stefanos and that was that. This wouldn’t have happened if Tsitsipas opted to take a bathroom break to get changed but didn’t with the facilities being soo far away from Grandstand court.
It rattled him, he played with tension and it seemed tense in his camp and not for the first time and he never recovered.
Despite it not being another big final it is still a match that go away from the Greek, it was in his grasp and twice in the latter stages of the second and third set he squandered a service game from 40-0 up.
What next for him? A quick reset and onto the clay where he doesn’t have a bad record. This is just a stumble for Tsitsipas at the moment, his talent is incredible. I was in Melbourne for his win over Federer and sat on Court Manola Santana in Madrid as he defeated Nadal in 2019, the level he can get to is quite scary but now is trying to walk with the best and beat the best in a big final. He did it in London but has struggled on a week by week basis and I don’t think it will be long until he does turn it around.
Overall, I do think he is having a good year, the end in Miami will be disappointing but it’s a lesson to learn from and he has to move on!