Stefanos Tsitsipas praises ‘breath of fresh air’ Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the net

Stefanos Tsitsipas has expressed his admiration for Carlos Alcaraz, lauding the Spaniard as a “breath of fresh air” to tennis.

The world No 5 highlighted how the 20-year-old plays “with a smile on his face” and wants to apply this positive approach to his own game.

Tsitsipas will face world No 1 Alcaraz in the quarter-finals of the 2023 French Open if both players progress to that stage.

The Greek has lost all four of his previous meetings with the US Open champion – with their most recent clash coming in the final of the Barcelona Open in April.

Speaking after his four-set opening round win over Jiri Vesely at Roland Garros on Sunday, Tsitsipas spoke glowingly about his Spanish rival.

“I had a practice session with Carlitos the other day and did throw in a “thank you” just randomly, and I don’t know if he understood that or not. I owe a lot to Carlitos, because he’s such a breath of fresh air, the fact that he’s on the tour,” Tsitsipas said.

“I had this discussion the other day with someone, and I said, the fact that just he’s so competitive and he’s always with a smile on his face, and almost so much charisma to him and so much positive energy that he distributes.

“I think that’s contributed a lot to his growth as a tennis player and his consistency too. He seems to be enjoying having fun. Last year during preseason I was, like, I want to apply that more into my game.

“Players focus more maybe on technical stuff and stuff that don’t kind of – that don’t focus on these aspects of the game. I kind of admire him for who he is.

“I just want to be more – I have that capacity of being that person. I truly believe that. That is also the reason that I’m just much more joyful and happy when playing this sport, due to him.”

The 24-year-old was also critical of his own performance in his victory against the world No 455.

“The match was very inconsistent from my side. I felt like I haven’t played a match with so much inconsistency in a very long time. There weren’t a lot of rallies in play,” Tsitsipas assessed.

“He was serving big, so I had to find ways to change that. At times I felt like my footwork was lousy. I think it’s also due to the fact that, as I said, there were not many rallies played, which didn’t allow my legs to be activated.

“Might be because of that. But otherwise, I’m happy with how things turned around, and my fighting spirit kind of went on full display in those last few points of the tiebreaker. It was a great way to end it by just being patient and waiting for that chance to pop up.”

READ MORE: Toni Nadal analyses favourites to win 2023 French Open