Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas believes he will have to be at his best against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, as the Greek star expects a very difficult outing in their round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Tsitsipas defeated Andrey Rublev of Russia, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(8) in his second group match. That kept his hopes of a title defense alive, following his loss to Dominic Thiem in the tournament opener.
The encounter against Rafael Nadal is now a must-win for a spot in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament in London.
“[It’s an] opportunity for me to fight even harder and give my very best out on the court,” Tsitsipas told the press after his win. “I know it will require a lot of physical effort, and I'm going to have to go through a lot of pain and suffering, so it is going to be difficult match. I'm expecting a fight from my side.”
Rafael Nadal has won five of his six career meetings against Tsitsipas, including a win during the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals last year. Nadal won that match 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, which was Tsitsipas' only loss on the way to clinching the title.
The 22-year-old's only win over Nadal came on clay at the Madrid Masters in 2019.
I'm going to try and play aggressive tennis, you can’t play defensive with Rafael Nadal: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas knows he will need to play aggressively and start strongly against Rafael Nadal. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is in fine form himself; he defeated Andrey Rublev convincingly in his first match on Sunday, and then gave Dominic Thiem all he could handle in a thrilling battle on Tuesday.
“I was very concentrated during our match last year and was playing each point individually. I'm going to try and play aggressive tennis, you can’t play defensive with Rafa. Try to play the rallies, apply pressure, serve well. It's part of the game that I want to play against Rafa. I think everyone has to play this way," Tsitsipas said.
“I just have to be solid. [I] have to be more solid than him to win. I know that. I have to start strong and finish even stronger,” he added.Published 18 Nov 2020, 15:33 IST