Tennis News: Stefanos Tsitsipas declines Maria Sakkari and Casper Ruud talks Djokovic

  • Tsitsipas unlikely to play with Sakkari
  • Ruud talks about 'beatable' Novak Djokovic
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Stefanos Tsitsipas seems back from wherever he was. After falling out of the top ten on the ATP, Tsitsipas won the Monte-Carlo Masters for the third time in four years. This allowed him to move all the way back to No. 7. (Meanwhile, if you are a Holger Rune fan, sorry. He and Tsitsipas basically traded spots and Rune fell from No. 7 to No. 12.)

Tsitsipas is at his best historically on clay and this should be his best time of the season. After suffering a back injury over the last six months, he appears to be back in great form. This should allow him to be a danger at the French Open in an attempt to win his first Grand Slam. He has the skills on clay to accomplish that, and he just needs to understand how to win best-of-five-set matches instead of best-of-three.

But Tsitsipas does not appear that he will give himself a chance to win any matches at the Summer Olympics in mixed doubles. Maria Sakkari last week told the press that she would like the chance to play with Tsitsipas at the Olympics as the two had done in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. They have played doubles at other times as well, such as the Hopman Cup. But Tsitsipas doesn't believe he will have time.

Stefanos Tsitsipas unlikely to play with Maria Sakkari and Casper Ruud discusses Novak Djokovic

After Tsitsipas defeated Casper Ruud in the final in Monte-Carlo, he was asked about potentially playing with Sakkari, but Tsitsipas instead said he plans to play men's doubles with his brother, Petros, as well as in the singles part of the tournament.

The Greek told the press, "What I want to do is clear. If I manage to get in the Olympic Games with my brother Petros, I would want to play singles and doubles with him. I would say that playing three events in a single tournament is a bit too much for me, physically taxing, and I would want to avoid that."

Speaking of Casper Ruud, on his way to losing in the final, he did do something that he had never done before. That is he beat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Before the match, Ruud had never even won a set off of the all-time great. As there is a lot of speculation about Djokovic's focus and drive to keep winning at an extremely high level, Ruud was asked in a post-match press conference if he thought Djokovic was any different now than he has previously been.

Ruud's answer was both in praise of Djokovic, but also brutal. He said, "Yeah, a little bit. Obviously, Novak is Novak. He's human. Sometimes he doesn't seem like it, but he is like everyone else. I think what really motivated me and helped me a bit today was maybe that I thought about, you know, he lost a match in Indian Wells to Luca Nardi, and he showed there that he's also vulnerable sometimes.

"Luckily for me I was able to think about those thoughts in the end of the third set and take advantage of it, believing more in myself that I could beat him now than before, because he didn't have that perfect record so far this year, and that kind of is how tennis works."

No offense to Casper Ruud, but if a player who has never beaten Novak Djokovic suddenly starts believing he can, that likely says more about Djokovic than the other player. Djokovic does appear a little differently so far in 2024 and he seems to lack his normal strong belief that he will win. That, of course, could change at any minute, however.

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