Stefanos Tsitsipas said he is relishing a return to the European claycourt season as the Greek world number three targets a third consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title in the build-up to the French Open starting next month.
After losing the Australian Open final against current world number one Novak Djokovic in January, the 24-year-old Tsitsipas suffered early defeats in Rotterdam and Indian Wells before a fourth-round loss in Miami.
The 2021 Roland Garros runner-up returns to clay hoping to claim his first trophy of the year at Monte Carlo, having beaten Andrey Rublev and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the previous two finals of the prestigious tournament.
“It’s a pleasure to return to the claycourt swing,” Monte Carlo resident Tsitsipas told reporters. “It’s one of the most fascinating parts of the year, starting the claycourt swing in Monte Carlo, which is my favourite place in the world.
“I’m looking to make it three titles. But I won’t take too much time thinking of it. I’m feeling refreshed that we’re able to start playing on clay again.
“The Monegasque people have showed their love and support and the Italian and French fans. Also, the Greek community. I know most of them… It’s my home tournament.”
Tsitsipas said he enjoyed tactical battles on clay, a surface on which he has won four of his nine titles.
“I think it’s deeper than people think. There is a lot of strategy involved,” said Tsitsipas, who will begin his campaign against Benjamin Bonzi or Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
“You’re not expecting to hit crazy winners on a surface like clay. You’re dealing with much patience when you’re playing.
“It involves more around unforced and forced errors. The way you can open the court. The main priority isn’t to hit a winner, but be precise and open the court.”