BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — With wins over the big three of world tennis already under his belt in 2019, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas said Thursday he believed he had the ammunition to take the world number one ranking.
Tsitsipas became the youngest player to beat Rafael Nadal on clay and the youngest to record wins over Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic during a stellar 2019 which saw him rise to world number five.
The 21-year-old heads into the inaugural ATP Cup ranked sixth, but said he was confident he could go all the way to the top.
“I mean, yeah, they are still there — they are doing really well,” Tsitsipas said about Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.
“For me, it’s very challenging to go out there and compete against them.
“I feel like there’s something extra to chase after when I play against them, plus I get to learn a lot when I play against them.
“I feel more of a complete player,” he added.
“I kind of compare them to me to see what works for them and what should I work on more, and they’re just super humans in a way.
“But I’m trying to get there myself and I’m going to keep trying to do my best because I feel like I can surpass them, I can be better.
“It’s just a matter of time, patience, and dedication on what I do.”
Tsitsipas said he was in top shape heading into the new season and said he was playing pain free.
But he conceded he needed to work on his consistency across tournaments.
“I improved during my pre-season — I feel like I’ve added a few elements in my game,” he said.
“Obviously, ups and downs, you can’t be consistent all the time (but) I’m going to try to be consistent as much as possible.
“I’m going to try to be even better than I was last year, but in the back of my mind I’ve concentrated on having a consistent balanced well-planned year with not many ups and downs.”
Tsitsipas gets his tournament underway against rising Canadian star Dennis Shapovalov on Friday morning.
© Agence France-Presse