Before the start of Wimbledon 2023, one of the great first-round matchups was Stefanos Tsitsipas versus Dominic Thiem. It did not disappoint. The match felt like it took years to play, and for the players involved it likely felt like decades.
But there were no boring moments in the five-set match which Tsitsipas eventually won 3-6 7-6(7) 6-2 6-7(7) 7-6(10-8). Both players served brilliantly and still had enough touch at times to put away points. Neither player dominated play for any length of time and it was fitting that even the fifth set went to a tie-break that neither player could separate themselves from the other until the very end.
It was really just two mishits by Thiem that set up Tsitsipas to move on to the second round. But the final point was just a well-laced backhand by Tsitsipas down the line that sent Thiem home.
Tsitsipas defeats Thiem in a magical Wimbledon match
If you have children at home thinking about whether they want to become tennis fans, find this match on replay and put it on. They will very likely be glued to nearly every point from the second set on. The match took 3 hours and 56 minutes to play over the course of two days. Both players had to be wiped at the end.
It was perfect grass court tennis. Each player controlled pace during the service games – Thiem had 15 aces to Tsitsipas’ 13 and both players won more than 70 percent of their first serves – but at times had returns that would have beaten any player. It was fun to watch and exactly what grass court tennis should be.
Tsitsipas now moves on to round two to face Andy Murray. The crowd will be firmly behind the British Murray instead of the Greek Tsitsipas but Tsitsipas is aware of this. As he said in his post-match on-court interview, “I don’t expect anyone to be pulling for me.” But Tsitsipas likely earned some fans elsewhere in the world with his play against Thiem.