Tsitsipas Seen As Heir To Big Three Throne After ATP Finals Victory
Tennis has been "crying out for a member of the next generation to end the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the grand-slam tournaments," and it "looks increasingly likely that Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the man responsible" for making that happen, according to Stuart Fraser of the LONDON TIMES. At just 21, Tsitsipas' victory over Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals on Sunday "meant he became the youngest debutant to win the season-ending championships" since 19-year-old John McEnroe in '78. After "proving that he is more than capable of beating the greatest players in the world over the best of three sets," the next step for Tsitsipas is to "do it consistently over the best of five." Next season, he will attempt to "become the first non-big three member to win a grand-slam title" since Stan Wawrinka at the '16 U.S. Open (LONDON TIMES, 11/18). In N.Y., Cindy Shmerler noted it was the first ATP Finals appearance for Tsitsipas, who is "still young enough to play in the NextGen Finals." However, when he qualified for the ATP Finals, he withdrew from the NextGen event and "did not look back" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).
NEXT BIG THING? In London, Mike Dickson wrote Tsitsipas' victory is "another indicator that the guard may be slowly changing as the eternal wait for a new men's Grand Slam winner stretches on" (London DAILY MAIL, 11/18). The AAP's Martyn Herman wrote Tsitsipas being crowned ATP Finals champion "felt like a watershed moment" (AAP, 11/18). In London, Simon Briggs wrote tennis "saw the future on Sunday at the O2 Arena." But observers must "be careful here." Many in the sport were "making grand predictions about Grigor Dimitrov when he won the ATP Finals" in '17, and then "made the same mistake when Alexander Zverev triumphed last year." In both cases, the players "suffered a miserable follow-up season" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/18). Also in London, Paul Newman wrote under the header, "Tsitsipas Emerges As Next Superstar Of Tennis But Past Finals Champions Provide Warning" (London INDEPENDENT, 11/18). TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wondered, "Has the ATP found a successor to the Big 3, and a future No. 1, in Tsitsipas?" The sport has "heard that a few times over the last decade as well, especially at this event." If Tsitsipas and Thiem, 26, "don't turn out to be the future" in '20 and beyond, they still "gave us a great way to say good-bye" to '19 (TENNIS.com, 11/17).