Marcos Baghdatis believes Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of only two players outside of the big three who has the right mentality to consistently win majors.
The former Australian Open finalist believes Austrian Dominic Thiem is the other ATP Tour player with the sufficient mental qualities to become a regular star at the majors once the top trio in the men’s game have been dethroned.
Cypriot Baghdatis retired after Wimbledon this year and recently joined the coaching team of WTA Tour star Elina Svitolina.
More from Lob and Smash
- In 26th appearance, Novak Djokovic has a new Grand Slam final opponent
- Australian Open 2020 final preview: Sofia Kenin to face Garbine Muguruza
- Chris Evert tells Roger Federer to take risks against Novak Djokovic
- Australian Open: Roger Federer will need all his magic vs Novak Djokovic
- Rafael Nadal faces familiar Grand Slam rival Dominic Thiem in Melbourne
He was discussing Greece’s Tsitsipas at length along with a host of other topics while appearing on The Tennis Podcast, in association with the Daily Telegraph.
Asked if Tsitsipas would be the next ‘one’ to make the step of becoming a regular Slam winner, Baghdatis mentioned Thiem as well.
Baghdatis said of Stefanos Tsitsipas: “I think he’s the only one, with Thiem, that has the mentality to keep on winning slams throughout the years.”
The question came after Baghdatis had raved about the quality of Tsitsipas, who won the ATP Finals at the end of 2019 and is being heavily backed to make a Slam push next year.
Svitolina’s new coaching consultant believes Tsitsipas has some flashes of Federer in his game and analytical approach while enjoying similarities to Djokovic with regard to his mental make-up.
“As a person, I think he’s a genius,” added Baghdatis. “He doesn’t think like us. I see a bit of Roger in him, in his game, in his mind, on the court in the way he analyses the matches. Not a lot of players can come out of a match and analyse so well. That’s a very strong advantage that he has.
“He has a complete game. He has very small things to improve, his slice a bit and his return. But his self-discipline and determination, he’s at the level of Djokovic for me, and at a very young age.
“For me I can say yes, he is more complete than anybody else. He’s a special kid.”
After starting the year strongly with a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open, Tsitsipas recovered from a bad slump that included first-round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open to end 2019 with his ATP Finals win in London.
Still just 21, he has been a trendy offseason pick to break the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in majors. The big three have won 12 in a row since Stan Wawrinka’s US Open win in 2016.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ victory at the year-end ATP Finals came at the expense of Thiem, who had beaten Djokovic, Federer and Alexander Zverev in an excellent tournament.
Thiem is building a major pedigree having made the last two French Open finals, but was unfortunate to run into the King of Clay Nadal on both occasions.
Baghdatis was not saying the other stars were incapable of winning a Grand Slam, but Tsitsipas and Thiem were his picks as those who he feels can sustain success over a longer period.
The Greek goes into 2020 ranked at number six in the world, narrowly behind Thiem (4) and Medvedev (5).
We will not have long to wait to see either Dominic Thiem or Stefanos Tsitsipas in Grand Slam action again, with the Australian Open now just a month away. Both will hope to prove Baghdatis right over the coming years.