Stefanos Tsitsipas – A date with destiny
Stefanos Tsitsipas has a date with destiny in Sunday’s Australian Open final, as he attempts to subdue the Serbian juggernaut Novak Djokovic in his backyard.
It will be a monumental task given the Greek has won just twice in twelve meetings with the Serb. Recent statistics paint an even bleaker picture if one considers that the young pretender is currently on a 9 match-losing streak against the nine-time Australian Open champion.
French Open Meltdown
His fragile mental state will be further eroded if his thoughts wander back to the 2021 French Open final, where despite being 2 sets up, he surrendered meekly when victory seemed closer than defeat.
It is a real conundrum because he is a world beater against anyone else but Djokovic who seems to be his boogeyman. At 24, he has to convert one of these golden opportunities – especially against the Serbian- if nothing else but for his sanity.
With his shyness and introverted nature aside, he has to somehow quell his inner demons and show courage to finally change the narrative both against the Serbian and the perception of being a serial underachiever.
Djokovic – chasing greatness
Novak Djokovic – despite a dodgy hamstring – finds himself in a familiar position. Another Grand Slam final in rarified air, chasing an unprecedented 10th Australian Open.
Searching for his 22nd Slam in 32 major finals, the Serbian is an overwhelming favorite, and rightly so. He is destined to go down as perhaps the greatest player in history when all is said and done.
With the unwanted drama of his expulsion from the tournament last year and the more recent furor of his father’s pictures seemingly in support of Russia in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, the Serb has once again shown the steely resolve of a perennial underdog rather than the decorated champion that he is.
He thrives on this type of chaos and with his dominant record against the Greek superstar, he will be champing at the bit for Sunday’s finale.
In this cauldron of adversity, Stefanos Tsitsipas has to go deep into his darkness; the struggles he and his family had to endure to allow him to reach his full potential. The uncertainty and stigma he had to overcome to reach the summit. Therein lies the key to his salvation.
Come Sunday we will see if he finally has some answers.