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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday November 21, 2020

Stefanos Tsitsipas had a solid season in 2020. He won 29 matches, reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros and claimed a title in Marseille. But the Greek, like so many other tennis players, seemed relieved that a rough season came to a close after his last match, a three-set loss to Rafael Nadal in round robin play that eliminated him from semifinal contention at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Tennis Express

Travelling the globe as a professional tennis player is never easy. Players are on the go from the first of the year until the end of November, and they rarely stay in one city for more than a week, and often less. 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic raging, and no crowds to share the experience with or get energized by, left Tsitsipas without inspiration and in a dark place.

“The bubble life itself. ... I mean, it gets tiring after a while,” Tsitsipas told reporters on Thursday. “Think of yourself sitting in a hotel room waiting for your match all day long, not having the ability to go anywhere.”

The bubble has been trouble for Tsitsipas. He's a social creature, a player who enjoys going out and meeting friends in the cities he travels to.

“It's difficult to be in your hotel, room service all day long. Not having the opportunity to see your friends or because of all these differences or— you know, I have lots of people that I connect with when I play tournaments," he said.

Tsitsipas is a bright and bubbly character normally, one that is quick to converse and always eager to see the positive side of life. But travelling the coronavirus-addled world in 2020, and playing in front of empty stadiums, has left him feeling gloomy.

“It feels very—to me, it feels very dark, and honestly, I'm not a person who sees the dark side of things. But this whole thing was very difficult to handle, to be honest with you,” Tsitsipas said. “I'm very happy that I didn't break down, and I'm sure if you ask other players they are going to respond the same way.”

Forget the semifinal at Roland Garros and the finals in Dubai in Hamburg, the two Top 10 wins and the second consecutive trip to the Nitto ATP Finals. For Tsitsipas 2020 just didn’t feel like a success.

“For me, 2020 is going to be a very, I would say, unfulfilling year simply because of the situation that we had to face,” he said. “I will kind of see it as a huge gap in which we had to wait to come back and we were given the opportunity to play from September and on.”

As always, Tsitsipas tried to take the positives, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It usually comes easy for him. But on Thursday night in London as he debriefed, we could feel just how hard it had become. This pandemic seems to have an effect on everyone, pulling us out of the light and into the grey.

“2020, you know, I had some good results,” Tsitsipas admitted. “Some bad losses. Some new things that happened to me that I didn't face in the past. Some really annoying things and some beautiful things, as well. Things that brought me a lot of joy. Also allowed for me to, despite the pandemic, to connect with certain people and have some fun, as well, you know.

"Yeah, there were a few positives I can take from that. I will try and forget the negatives, because who needs negativity in this world? Just looking at the bright side of it. Trying to get to the end of the tunnel and see something better in the near future.”