Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round on Monday, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to Frances Tiafoe. It marks Tsitsipas’ third opening-round exit at the Championships in four appearances.
The Greek, who finished as the runner-up at Roland Garros, did not play any tune-up events on grass ahead of Wimbledon. While fatigue from a grueling claycourt campaign could have been a reason, his grandmother’s unfortunate demise may have also played a part in his decision.
Speaking to the media after his loss to Tiafoe, Tsitsipas admitted he might have benefited from playing some matches ahead of the grasscourt Major.
“I was thinking maybe I should have played the week before Wimbledon, either Mallorca or Eastbourne, I’m not sure,” Tsitsipas said. “Any of these tournaments would have helped, for sure, get me in a better shape, get my tennis ready for the grass court season.”
The Greek heaped praise on his American opponent, who played aggressive tennis from start to finish. Tsitsipas, on the other hand, was extremely passive, which he admitted led to his downfall.
“Fair to say he played really well,” added Tsitsipas. “I wasn’t able to maintain the intensity. I wasn’t able to put something better than him. It ended up going his way. I was a bit more passive. I didn’t approach my game with the same strategy.”
Tsitsipas admitted he lacked motivation against Tiafoe, but was quick to point out that it was not the reason for his lackluster performance.
The Greek, who has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon, insisted he has the skillset to succeed on grass.
“There have been times when I was much more motivated than this but that is not a reason for me not to play well,” he said. “Again, I’d like to pinpoint & say I have all the qualities to play on grass. I haven’t had a lot of matches on grass.”
“The bubble makes it really tiring every week” – Stefanos Tsitsipas
Since the tour resumed last year, life for tennis players has mainly involved traveling from the “bubble” of one tournament to another due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bubble requires players to be confined to certain areas and limits any external interactions.
Tsitsipas admitted that moving from bubble to bubble was mentally draining.
“The bubble makes it really tiring every week,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s certainly very difficult when you know mentally you’re going from one bubble, being in that bubble for close to a month & then a few weeks later you need to go through the procedure again, it’s just not easy.”
Tiafoe, meanwhile, showered praise on the Greek during his on-court interview, describing Tsitsipas as “special” and earmarking him for Grand Slam success in the future.
“That guy’s special,” Tiafoe said. “He’s going to do a lot of great things and win a ton of Grand Slams. But not today.”