The ATP Finals brings pressure, its a time to perform and an event where there is nowhere to hide. The eyes of the tennis world beam down on London for the ATP Finals and last year was a surprise story. Debutant Stefanos Tsitsipas performed outstandingly well to win the title as did Dominic Thiem ended up as runner-up.
The problem is with returning is that you have big points to defend and some added pressure to perform but for this year there are no points to defend so is there the same pressure and expectancy?
I think the ATP Finals is a perfect way to end the season, its a celebration of someones year to come to London but also a chance for players to prove a point, end with some momentum and learn.
Even in this year which has lacked structure on the tour out of the players in London I would say that Stefanos has had the quietest year on the back of his London triumph last winter.
I didn’t expect him to be a bull dozer in what has been a shorter 2020 than expected but I have felt he hasn’t found his best tennis consistently. I look at his defeats this year and it is inform players who he slips up against.
Against top thirty opponents he has 8 wins and 7 defeats this season and just 4 wins from 9 against top twenty ranked opponents.
We are unsure how fit Stefanos is, he is still feeling the effects of a knock he picked up at Roland Garros but I would be surprised if he didn’t give London a go this year.
Is there pressure? Maybe… I feel that Stefanos is at his best however when he is in these pressure situations. He’s played at the highest level and delivered in pressure situations. I was there in Melbourne and Madrid where he beat Federer and Nadal respectively last year and the intensity shown by the young man was incredible.
I want to see him play with that intensity and have fun, easy to forget he only turned 22 a couple of months ago and made another major semi-final earlier this year.
I don’t think he has brought his best tennis out this year but does have the confidence and belief to turn it on and we saw this last year. I think it is great for him he doesn’t have defend points and can relax a bit more. He won’t want to go out without a burst but this week can be such a learning curve even for a guy who has made two major semi-finals, beaten the best in this sport and won in London last year.