How Stefanos Tsitsipas could become the unlikely year-end No 1

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas has an outside shot at pipping Spaniards Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal to the year-end No 1 ranking.

Should Tsitsipas get the business done at the ATP Finals in Turin he would become the first man to end the season at No 1 without winning a Grand Slam.

In order for Tsitsipas to achieve the feat he will have to win all five of his matches in Turin.

If Rafael Nadal does not reach the final and Tsitsipas does not win all of his matches then Alcaraz, who is out of the event injured, will end the season at No 1.

The players ranked No 2 to No 9 in the rankings will make up the field in Turin.

Tsitsipas being in contention for the top ranking is something of a surprise given his injury problems at the end of the 2021 season.

He surprised his own doctors by making it to the 2022 Australian Open after pulling out of the 2021 season finals after an elbow injury.

Tsitsipas is in a position to be No 1 at year-end thanks to the consistency of his efforts throughout 2022.

Despite the odd early exit Tsitsipas was a regular quarterfinalist on the tour and won four titles during the term including the successful defence of his Monte Carlo Masters title.

He is happy to be turning out in Italy with a chance to make up for a disappointing end to the 2021 season.

“I unfortunately played just one match and I didn’t really have the opportunity to show my real game out there,” he said of last season.

“I’m really excited to be playing in Italy. The Italians are really passionate when it comes to tennis. They put a lot of their energy out on the courts and the stadiums. They have a great culture in tennis the last couple of years.

“They’ve always loved my game, they’ve always greeted me very nicely. They have a sort of different aura when it comes to the game, which I appreciate a lot.

“I always have a great time playing in Italy in front of the Italian kids — a lot of them show up to watch the tennis,” he said.

“And also other amateur enthusiasts and followers of the sport that not only watch the game, but also bring in the ambience and create an atmosphere that elevates us players to play game.”

Tsitsipas says that he is mindful of accumulating rankings and Race to Turin points throughout the season.

“I do chase points a lot,” he admitted.

“I know they are very important.

Tsitsipas added: “I understand their value, what they can offer in terms of a ranking upgrade or having a better season than the ones before. I calculate, of course, I try to use my mind to improve in terms of points, things like defending and all that stuff.

He also said: “I always am willing to go play tournaments if that’s going to give me points, if that’s going to help me get better in the rankings.”

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