By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, May 28, 2023
On the opening day of Roland Garros, Stefanos Tsitsipas he was in no mood for longer commitments.
When big serving Czech Jiri Vesely he had four sets in overtime in the fourth set, a fifth set seemed inevitable.
The stubborn Tsitsipas rewrote the ending, battling all four set points in a 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) Roland Garros win to advance to the second round.
Later, Tsitsipas credited forward thinking and carb loading with his closing power.
“Red wine and baguettes,” joked Tsitsipas smiling about his Parisian success.
It was a very strong call for the 2021 Roland Garros runner-up who pointed to the temple after a win that took his clay court record to 14-4 this season.
“The match was very inconsistent on my part. I felt I hadn’t played a game with such inconsistency in a very long time,” Tsitsipas told the media in Paris. “There haven’t been many trades in the game. He was serving hard so I had to find a way to change that. Sometimes I felt my footwork was poor. I think it’s also due to the fact that, as I said, there weren’t too many rallies that didn’t allow me to activate my legs. Maybe it’s because of that.
“But apart from that, I am happy with how things turned out and my fighting spirit was fully shown in these last few extra-time points. It was a great way to end it just by being patient and waiting for a chance to pop.”
Fifth seed Tsitsipas applied forward thinking and used Vesely, who had tightened up a bit, to create his comeback.
“I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try something new. I’ll just try to get on the ball a bit more, add some depth to my shot and a better way of looking at the court, and thanks to doing that when coming in,” said Tsitsipas. “It kind of worked on those three points. I started serving and I started thinking, okay, I can go to the net after the serve or go after the first comeback.
“Automatically, things started to move more forward, rather than play a trade or let me wait for a shot to reach me. Psychologically, it was like a spark of sorts.”
Two-time Monte-Carlo champion Tsitsipas will look to keep the spark burning when he likely faces Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in his second round match.
Image credit: Andy Cheung/Getty