Stefanos Tsitsipas recently claimed that while the absence of the Big 3 has opened up the field at the Miami Open, he is wary of the threat posed by several other players who have made the trip to the Floridian city.
Having just come off a solid run at the Mexican Open, where he finished as the runner-up, Stefanos Tsitsipas is being touted by many as one of the favorites for the Miami title. And given that the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem have pulled out from the event, everyone’s chances - including Tsitsipas' - have understandably increased.
The Greek has defeated each of these four players at Masters 1000 events in the past, but he called their absence an 'opportunity' during his pre-tournament press conference. That said, Tsitsipas doesn’t see himself as the top contender at Miami, as he believes that a lot of players outside the top 5 can also give him a run for his money.
"Well, it is an opportunity, I won’t lie, it is an opportunity," Tsitsipas said. "(But) there are plenty of good guys that aren't in the top five that can play good tennis as well. And I can see them as a threat too, I don't see myself as the favorite of the tournament."
The 22-year-old further revealed that he likes keeping 'low expectations' from himself at the start of any tournament. Tsitsipas pointed out that he often has to play matches where he is taken the distance, and added that that could be particularly difficult in the absence of the morale-boosting cheers from spectators.
"I like you know, to enter a tournament with low expectations and build my way through," Tsitsipas said. "I have a pretty difficult role despite all this. I have matches that I will really have to fight hard and give out my best and with a lack of spectators, it's going to feel a little bit different."
Stefanos Tsitsipas did also acknowledge, however, that he is hoping for the best; the Greek is eager to take advantage of the mass exodus of top players and rake in as many ranking points as possible.
"But generally speaking, yeah, it's an opportunity," Tsitsipas said. "I can see that way. Let's hope for the best. Let's hope I can. I can take advantage of this and add some points because Miami two years ago didn't offer a lot of points to my ranking. So I think I made the fourth round so that is definitely an opportunity for me to do better this year."
How has Stefanos Tsitsipas fared at the Miami Open in the past?
Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken part in the Miami Open twice - in 2018 and 2019.
In his first appearance at the event, Tsitsipas was ousted in the first round by Daniil Medvedev. The Russian came from a set behind to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Stefanos Tsitsipas fared much better in 2019, where he made the fourth round. He registered straight-set victories over Mackenzie McDonald and Leonardo Mayer before losing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(30) to fellow Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov.