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Tsitsipas claims Monte Carlo hat-trick with 'ruthless' game

Updated: 2024-04-16 09:06
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Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after beating Norway's Casper Ruud to win the Monte Carlo Masters title on Sunday. The Greek won 6-1, 6-4 in a display of “ruthless” tennis for his third crown in the Principality of Monaco. AFP

MONTE CARLO — Stefanos Tsitsipas hailed his third Monte Carlo Masters triumph as the "Holy Trinity", claiming that his golden week in the principality has restored faith in his game.

The Greek cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Casper Ruud on Sunday to add to his title triumphs on the Riviera in 2021 and 2022.

"Getting the Holy Trinity, as I call it, is something that I will fully cherish, and I will take the most out of this moment," he said.

"I did need a week like this a lot, especially the rough months that I have been through since the second half of 2023 until now.

"It hasn't been the best of times in terms of where I wanted to be, so getting back here and winning the title is something that just came naturally."

Tsitsipas arrived in Monte Carlo ranked at 12th in the world, his worst standing since January 2019.

He had a modest 11-6 record for the year, and had won just one title since the 2022 grass-court season.

Tsitsipas has improved to No 7 on the latest ATP rankings updated on Monday.

"Winning this tournament three times is something I would have never imagined," said Tsitsipas.

"Even when I got it the first time, I obviously thought it was a great feeling, and the place is special for me," added the 25-year-old who had stunned Australian Open winner and world No 2 Jannik Sinner in the semifinals.

"I showed some unbelievable, ruthless tennis."

Tsitsipas produced 30 winners compared to the 20 of Ruud, who had reached the final with victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

He is the fifth man to win three or more Monte Carlo titles, joining Rafael Nadal (11) and Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase who won three apiece.

"It has been very difficult, so to be back on the podium, winning tournaments, just feels amazing," Tsitsipas said. "The third time is even more special than the first or second. This is an unbelievable win for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking, I really wanted this trinity.

"I want to thank family, friends and those who made this moment possible," he said.

It was his first trophy since August last year, when he won a modest ATP 250-level tournament on outdoor hard courts at Los Cabos in Mexico.

The Greek struck first with a break in the third game of the opening set, then saved three break points to lead 3-1.

'He's a dreamer'

Tsitsipas earned a double break for 4-1 and claimed the set when Ruud double-faulted after 36 minutes.

In the second set, Tsitsipas got out of trouble in a 13-minute game, saving three break points at 3-3 after leading 40-0.

He claimed the title three games later on a first match point, a forehand winner down the line.

"I managed the point relatively well and finished it with the winner," Tsitsipas said.

He explained that his 98-minute victory was down to a no-nonsense attitude heading onto the court.

"I played cohesive tennis from start to finish," he said.

Tsitsipas's father and long-time coach Apostolos insisted he never doubted his son's abilities.

"Stefanos, he's a dreamer. I could say that also he's still young in his soul, in his mind," Apostolos told

"Every young person needs to believe in life, they need to believe in the targets they set. That's why we are there, to remind them that they deserve to be whatever they want."

Ruud apologized to the capacity crowd for not being able to mount a consistent challenge to his Greek opponent.

"Congratulations to Stefanos for winning again, he's been playing so well all week," said 10th-ranked Ruud.

"You are now back where you belong (among the top players)."

Ruud added: "I'm sorry I could not put on a better performance today, hopefully I will be back with a better performance in another year.

"I couldn't get it this time, but hopefully I'm getting closer to these big titles.

"I want to break the barrier and win a big tournament like this."

The focus of the two former French Open runners-up will now likely turn toward the clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris next month.


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