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Tsitsipas on Madrid's Ultimate Challenge

By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, May 1, 2022

Conditions in Madrid's Magic Box make it the most untraditional clay-court tournament, says Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The two-time Monte-Carlo champion carries a 7-1 clay-court record into Madrid with his lone loss coming to Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz, who also handed Tsitsipas his last prior loss in Miami.

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Tsitsipas says timing rather than sliding is the ultimate challenge in Madrid, which elicits a higher bounce because of its higher elevation.

"It's different clay court tennis," Tsitsipas told the media in Madrid today. "It doesn't really feel as much, let's say, doesn't feel much of a clay court tournament because you are dealing mostly with altitude than the clay itself.

"So that's the ultimate challenge that you have to work on. Swings are different. It's a lot harder to open the court. You know, you're just dealing with higher balls and heavier balls. It's more about trying to make that extra ball in the court deep and with a lot of precision."

Tennis Express

The fourth-seeded Tsitsipas will play either Karen Khachanov or French wild card Lucas Pouille in his Madrid opener. Tsitsipas knows how to navigate demanding draws in Madrid.

In 2019, Tsitsipas toppled No. 4  Alexander Zverev and No. 2 Rafael Nadal in succession to reach the Madrid final bowing to No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

The good news for Tsitsipas in his Magic Box return is location: he's on the bottom of the draw while the top-seeded Djokovic, third-seeded Nadal and seventh-seeded Alcaraz all reside in the loaded top half. 


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The fifth-ranked Greek believes he's better equipped to handle the highs and lows Madrid can pose.

"I have better results. I have gained more experience and played more matches," Tsitsipas said. "I have seen certain scenarios more than I have when I first came here, and that is what I have in my portfolio.

"It's up to me to see if I'm able to use that and utilize it in the best possible way."

Photo credit: Getty