Speaking on Saturday, the Greek, who lost to Andrey Rublev in the 2019 first round, admitted, “I’ve never played on Arthur Ashe or in a big court to experience that here at the US Open. I only played here twice. I haven’t done really well, up to my expectations. I would love to play, for sure, it’s like a dream for everyone, to play a night session match on Arthur Ashe. It’s been a dream of mine, since forever.”
In spite of the five-month ATP Tour suspension this year, due to COVID-19, Tsitsipas has already shown his pedigree on the sport’s return at the Western & Southern Open.
At the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, which is also being played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, the 22-year-old came through big servers in Kevin Anderson, John Isner and Reilly Opelka for a place in the semi-finals. But it was a familiar foe, Milos Raonic, who had beaten Tsitsipas at the Australian Open in January, who proved to be one step too far, winning 7-6(5), 6-3.
“The level of tennis that I played at Australia as opposed to yesterday was much, much different,” said Tsitsipas. “I felt very close. I felt like if things could have gone my way in the first set, it would have been a completely different match. I was a point away of closing the first set, but I didn’t.
“I really hope I get a win against him in the future because he’s a very difficult opponent to face. I think the best server on the Tour. Now I can compare, because I played him twice. On both matches he was consistent and serving incredibly well. It makes your life very difficult. I think getting a win against him will be a really, really good victory that shows a lot of value.”
Tsitsipas, who faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the US Open first round on Monday, took the ATP Tour suspension positively and kept active, explaining, “I was able to fill my time and be constantly productive, even though this time was kind of weird for everyone.
“I did find ways to be more involved in other things, except tennis of course. My training was a big part of my daily routine back at the academy in the south of France. I just took time to gravitate towards myself, just have a good time, even though that really wasn’t the best period of time to have a good time. We’re all locked in our homes. I still found ways to feel entertained and feel like I’m doing something.”
Tsitsipas has a 16-6 record on the 2020 season, including his fifth ATP Tour title at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille (d. Auger-Aliassime) and a final run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. to Djokovic), both in February. He has a 2-0 ATP Head2Head record against Ramos-Vinolas, who he plays on Monday at the US Open, third match on Court 17.