It’s only fitting that Tsitsipas would assign the red clay courts at Roland Garros an ineffable quality, given how diligently he’s labored to win on that rust-colored battleground. And like the courts of which he spoke so lovingly, Tsitsipas has become good at wiping the slate clean and starting afresh.
The flamboyant 24-year-old from Greece lost the 2021 Roland Garros final to Novak Djokovic after leading two sets to none. But back in the round of 16 for the fifth consecutive year, he’s communicating as happily with those mysterious courts as he is with the world press.
Tsitsipas has lost just one set, in the always jitter-inducing first round, so far in this edition of Roland Garros. With three rounds done, he led all comers in two key categories: winners (138) and first-serve points won (79 percent). He was second in net-points won and third in break-point conversion (45 percent). He’s on a quarterfinal collision course with Spanish sensation and top seed Carlos Alcaraz, but he’s cool with it, as some comments he made earlier in the week attest.
“I had a practice session with Carlitos the other day,” Tsitsipas explained. “And I threw in a “thank you” just randomly, but I don’t know if he understood that or not. I owe a lot to Carlitos, because he’s such a breath of fresh air, the fact that he’s on the tour. . .He’s so competitive and [yet] he’s always with a smile on his face, and so much charisma to him and so much positive energy that he distributes. Last year during preseason I was, like, ‘I want to apply that more into my game [too].’”