MONACO, April 19 — Stefanos Tsitsipas crushed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday in a one-sided final in the Monte Carlo Open for his first Masters 1000 title and put his success to “learning to breathe”.
The Greek 22-year-old world number five took just one hour and 11 minutes to beat the Russian, ranked eighth, for the biggest victory in his career, after his triumph in the year-end ATP Finals in 2019.
“Breathing is something I’ve been working on the last couple of months with my psychologist,” said Tsitsipas, who said he has taken up meditation and is “inspired by Buddhism”.
“I find breathing very important especially when I’m performing or playing, breathing helps me control myself and have full control of what I’m doing out there.
“Definitely something that I’ve been putting a lot of work in the last couple of weeks.”
The Greek’s victory in his seventh match against 23-year-old Rublev gave him a 4-3 advantage in their head-to-head meetings.
Tsitsipas believes that his rivalry with Rublev, which started at the prestigious Orange Bowl in Florida, could even one day go on to match the epic confrontations involving Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“You see back 15 years ago, 10 years ago when Nadal and Federer built one. I feel like in our circumstances, the way it’s going to be in this era, there are going to be much more rivalries than just one,” said Tsitsipas.
“It won’t be singular. Me with (Alexander) Zverev, me with (Jannik) Sinner, me with (Matteo) Berrettini.”
Tsitsipas now has six titles on the ATP Tour, including the year-end ATP Finals in 2019 and four ATP 250 tournaments (Stockholm 2018, Marseille and Estoril 2019, Marseille 2020).
By the time Rublev got going in the first set on Sunday, the damage was done.
Tsitsipas calmly held his service games to win the first set in 32 minutes.
The second followed the same pattern as Tsitsipas broke serve in the third game. He broke again to end the match.
Rublev, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 final after eliminating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, did not have a break point in the match.
The Russian admitted he had even surprised himself when he defeated Nadal, an 11-time champion in Monte Carlo, on Friday.
“When I confirmed to play Barcelona (which starts Monday), it was right before match with Rafa,” he said.
“I was thinking in my head that Friday probably I will be already in Barcelona! But, I think I can play on Wednesday, so I have like two days off, which is more than enough.” — AFP