Stefanos Tsitsipas said he had a little extra motivation to win his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title against Andrey Rublev on Sunday as he was keen to join his mother on the honour roll at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
Tsitsipas had lost both his previous Masters finals but defeated Russian Rublev 6-3 6-3 to win the title without dropping a set at the clay court tournament.
The 22-year-old told reporters he was six when he came to the club for the first time with his mother, Julia Salnikova, who won a junior title at the same venue in 1981.
His mother also played in the Fed Cup for the Soviet Union and reached a career-high ranking of 130.
“She showed me that name up there. I was... stunned. I was like, ‘Wow, that is really cool. How cool is that?’
“I didn’t think about it in the beginning of the tournament, but it came to my mind when I was playing the semi-finals. I was thinking that would be really cool to be in this together, like mother like son.
“That’s where the whole purpose came from. I feel like there was an enormous amount of willingness to want to do more in order to be there with my mom.”
Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time Monte Carlo winner Rafa Nadal fell early in Monte Carlo, opening the door to a new Masters champion.
“I stepped up my game, brought this good game, good tennis. I didn’t see no reason for me to leave from here without the trophy. I felt like I deserved it,” he said.
“I’ve put so much effort and so much concentration into it. Definitely something that I deserve. More opportunities like this is going to show up and come up in the future, so I need to be ready to show my consistency and prevail with that.”
Shock win over Nadal leaves Rublev with little time to rest
Andrey Rublev said he had accepted a wild card for Barcelona this week in the belief that his participation in the Monte Carlo Masters would come to a halt against Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals on Friday. But the exhausted Russian has now been left with a very quick turnaround after he beat the Spaniard and then went on to reach Sunday’s final of the ATP Masters 1000 event, where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas. “When I confirmed to play Barcelona, it was right before the match with Rafa,” Rublev told reporters with a smile after his 6-3, 6-3 loss to Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.
“I was thinking in my head that Friday probably I will be already in Barcelona.”
Nadal, who counts 13 of his 20 Grand Slam titles on the red dirt of Roland Garros, has lost only six times at the clay court tournament, an event he has won 11 times. Rublev, 23, climbed to a career-high ranking of seventh yesterday, having registered the most wins (21) on the ATP Tour season in 2021. Greek Tsitsipas, 21, edged ahead with a 4-3 lead in their head-to-head rivalry with Sunday’s win. “If we talk deeply, of course, I mean, I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted,” Rublev said. “But this is not (an) excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”
Following the ATP 500 event in Barcelona, Rublev will take a week off to rest before he gets back on Tour at the back-to-back Masters 1000 events on clay at Madrid and Rome next month. “I think I can play on Wednesday, so I have like two days off, which is more than enough,” he said. (AFP)
Russia's Andrey Rublev. (AFP)
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