By Alberto Amalfi | Monday April 18, 2022
Stefanos Tsitsipas has beaten the Big 3, but he’s been confounded by Carlos Alcaraz.
Riding his crackling topspin forehand and an audacious drop shot, Alcaraz stunned the third-seeded Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) in a coming-of-age US Open third-round conquest last September.
The 18-year-old Spaniard made history as the youngest man to defeat a Top-3 US Open seed since 1973—and the youngest man to reach the round of 16 in Flushing Meadows since a 17-year-old Michael Chang and 18-year-old Pete Sampras did it back in 1989.
Alcaraz repeated the feat last month in Miami rallying from 2-5 down to defeat Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3 before a loudly supportive Grandstand crowd en route to becoming the youngest man to win the Miami Open champion.
Meeting the media in Barcelona today, Tsitsipas said Alcaraz isn’t a puzzle—he’s “one of the most complete” players in the sport already.
“Carlos is one of the most complicated and complete players I have ever faced,” Tsitsipas said. “In fact, I never beat him. I hope to improve on the previous two games if I have to play with him. I think our rivalry will extend over time.”
Tsitsipas is aiming to translate his clay-court success to other surfaces this season.
“My tennis is great I think everywhere, with clay maybe being the surface that I can adjust the best,” Tsitsipas said. “You know, I have had moments where I was trying to apply what I apply on clay on hard. Doesn’t really seem to be working much. Sometimes it’s not really the way to go.
“But [winning Monte-Carlo] has also learned me a lot that I should adjust and I should never really become obsessive that, okay, whatever works on clay should work on faster surfaces.”
Photo credit: Getty