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THE HEAT IS ON STEF NOW



To be a two-time Masters 1000 champion, reach the top three, progress to two major finals and earn millions in prizemoney by the age of 25 sounds pretty decent does it not?

Well that is where Stefanos Tsitsipas finds his career right now, but why does it feel like any chance of him saluting for that elusive Grand Slam or pushing for the number one ranking is slipping away quickly?

2023 began with yet another extended stay at Melbourne Park that saw him within just one victory of a maiden Slam and the top rung of the ATP ladder, but he was brutally outclassed by Novak Djokovic, who has thwarted both of his attempts at one of tennis’ blue ribboned tournaments.

But since then it has been slim pickings for the Greek star, who has gone on to notch up 29 wins and 13 losses for the return of just a solitary title in Los Cabos a fortnight ago.

However, two of these victories have come against the Colombian duo of Andres Andrade and Alvaro Guillen Meza in Davis Cup play in February, both of whom had a combined ranking of 1,295 at the time.

Of his 13 losses, eight have been in straight sets, including two brutal defeats at the hands of Carlos Alcaraz and one to Daniil Medvedev on clay, a surface in which the Russian has publicly admitted his hatred for.

Most recently at the Western and Southern Open, French veteran Gel Monfils was able to dispose of Tsitsipas as he looks to continue his comeback from cruel injuries that kept him away from the court for almost a year.

This was an event that the Athens born Stefanos reached the final at in 2022.

His tight losses to Jordan Thompson, Richard Gasquet and Yannick Hanfmann at Indian Wells, Stuttgart and Mallorca are also uncharacteristic, with his game looking completely sub-par against his fellow top ten opponents like Alcaraz, Djokovic, Medvedev and Jannik Sinner.

In fact, Tsitsipas is winless from five matches against foes from within the top ten this year and to make matters worse, each of those losses have been in straight sets.

From the outside, it seems like his blossoming relationship with fellow star Paula Badosa has occupied much of his time and attention.

But, where to now?

The 25-year-old has made a big change to his coaching staff, with Mark Philippoussis becoming his lead coach instead of his father, Apostolos.

Tsitsipas senior has been at the helm for the majority of his career, so viewing the change will be interesting in the coming weeks as the tennis fraternity converges on Flushing Meadows for the final Grand Slam of the year.

He has never ventured past the third round in New York, and based on current form, it is hard to see him challenging the likes of Alcaraz, Djokovic, Sinner or Medvedev should he meet them at some stage throughout the fortnight.

Despite that trophy in Los Cabos, the heat is on Tsitsipas to lift his game to a level that can be a consistent contender for one of the top prizes because there are a plethora of players who have gone past him.

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