Stefanos Tsitsipas sets sights on Olympic medal as he aims to bounce back from injury

Greek world No 6 targets Paris glory and first Grand Slam title in 2024

Stefanos Tsitsipas hopes to 'reboot' himself for new season

Stefanos Tsitsipas hopes to 'reboot' himself for new season
Powered by automated translation

Stefanos Tsitsipas is hoping he can “reboot” himself for the new tennis season, as he looks to move past a back injury that disrupted the tail-end of his 2023 campaign.

The Greek world No 6 was forced to retire from his second match at the ATP Finals last month, his back issues resulting in an abrupt end to his season.

Speaking to The National on the sidelines of the World Tennis League at Etihad Arena on Sunday, Tsitsipas said he was in a “better condition” than before and that his back has “almost healed”.

The 25-year-old did not contest any singles sets during the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, and instead stuck to playing doubles and mixed doubles.

He will begin his 2024 season at the United Cup in Sydney, where he will lead Greece, alongside his compatriot Maria Sakkari, in their opening clash against Chile on January 2.

“I wasn’t able to get the preparation that I actually needed – I’m talking about all the weeks (I was hoping to get),” said Tsitsipas of his preseason training.

“However, I did spend quality time with my family and I did spend a few weeks trying to find a solution to all of this [physical problems] and I think it paid off, going for many days in a row into rehab and committing myself to the process of absolute healing.”

Tsitsipas started 2023 with a bang, winning his opening 10 matches of the season by going undefeated in singles at the United Cup to help guide Greece to the semi-finals before marching to the Australian Open final. It was Tsitsipas’s second appearance in a Grand Slam final and his second defeat to Novak Djokovic at that stage in a major.

“I can definitely gain confidence from that,” Tsitsipas said, reflecting on his exploits in Australia 11 months ago. “However, I don’t reminisce and I don’t think too much about what happened in Australia this year. My whole plan is to reboot myself and get myself going for something absolutely new this season with a different quality of tennis I may say.”

Tsitsipas has always been goal-oriented, and likes to set concrete targets ahead of each season. Asked about what he hopes to accomplish in 2024, the Athens-native said: “I want to obviously bring an Olympic medal back to my country, that is a goal of mine.

“I want to win a Grand Slam title, that is also a goal of mine. For sure, in order for me to do these things I need to be healthy because there was a time this season where certain circumstances didn’t allow me to perform at 100 per cent; what I’m talking about those instances, they appeared after the Australian Open this year, and towards the end of the season.

“I’m just hoping not to be that limited and to explore further in 2024.”

Djokovic beats Tsitsipas in Australian Open final

Tsitsipas has been a constant fixture in the world’s top-10 since he made his debut in that elite ranking bracket back in February 2019. He entered the top three for the first time in 2021 and has hovered around the top-five threshold for the majority of the last three seasons.

Hampered by physical issues, changes to his coaching staff, and inconsistent results, which coincided with some stellar performances from Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner, Tsitsipas finds himself outside of the top five as he enters a new season.

While he plans on reasserting himself as one of the tour’s best, Tsitsipas acknowledges it won’t be an easy feat.

“We have great quality of tennis players, ones that can push each other to the limits. I think the moment has come where tennis is at its peak in a way,” said Tsitsipas.

“I’m lucky to be in that era because it’s an era that is constantly developing and it kind of reaches new heights.

“My goal there is to improve my own qualities and my own tennis that comes with the whole package in order to compete against these players, because these are the fittest, strongest, most enduring tennis players that our sport has seen in a long time.”

Updated: December 27, 2023, 3:55 AM