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Stefanos Tsitsipas is number 5 in the world, at the time of writing. The 25-year-old Greek is one of the best athletes on tour, and when he plays at his best, he is undoubtedly a solid top-five player. However, Tsitsipas seems to be struggling massively at the moment with his tennis. And once again, he has fallen in the first round of a tournament. Within the last hour or two, he has been taken out in straight sets by the Chilean, Nicolas Jarry. The 27-year-old Chilean is ranked 23 in the world right now, and really, this is a guy that Stefanos Tsitsipas should be beating.
Interestingly, this is the fourth time in the 2023 season that Tsitsipas has played Jarry, and it’s the second time that he has lost to him. Additionally, as a result of this loss, Jarry now moves into a 3-2 head-to-head position against Tsitsipas. So it’s clear that Nicolas Jarry has caused him issues in the past. But this loss isn’t the main focus that I wanted to discuss today. While yes, this loss is disappointing, there seems to be a wider issue going on with Tsitsipas’ form, and I question whether this is the beginning of a downturn in his career.
I say that because Tsitsipas has failed to make a deep draw run in plenty of big tournaments in the second half of the 2023 season. Specifically, he lost in the second round of the US Open to Stricker, a player ranked 128 at the time. Also, he managed to win just one match between the two 1000-level tournaments prior to the US Open. So just what has happened to Tsitsipas? Let’s take a look.
Stefanos Tsitsipas makes first-round exit in ATP China Open 2023 – another sign of declining form
The ATP China Open may only be a 500-level event, but it still holds importance for all of the players involved. In fact, it holds great significance concerning the ATP Finals that are rapidly approaching. I say this because it’s a great opportunity for the top guys to add to their cumulative points tally in their quest to qualify for the ATP Finals. But for Stefanos Tsitsipas, he’s obviously failed to add to his points total. Furthermore, this is a rough start to the Asian Swing for Tsitsipas, and this loss to Jarry won’t give him confidence ahead of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
So with this in mind, let me reveal why this loss to Nicolas Jarry serves as a bit of a catalyst to analyze Stefanos Tsitsipas as we near the end of the 2023 season.
Last tournament final before Los Cabos was in April – Barcelona Open
With the loss to Jarry, I immediately started to wonder about Tsitsipas’ overall form in 2023. And when scrolling back through his results, his 2023 season tells a rather concerning story. Specifically, he hasn’t reached the final of any ATP event since April, with the exception of his performance in Los Cabos. He didn’t even make a final during the clay court season, which is the surface that he normally thrives on. Yet when you compare this with previous seasons, he has managed to capture some of the biggest clay court titles of them all – Monte Carlo in 2021 and 2022.
One title win in 2023 – Los Cabos Open
As mentioned above, Stefanos Tsitsipas has managed to win a title in 2023. Interestingly, this was just last month (August 2023). Yet while this might provide some comfort for those who don’t want to believe that Tsitsipas is on a decline, his title run in Los Cabos secured a 250 tournament win. Sure, winning a tournament is always a good sign, but this is Stefanos Tsitsipas that we are talking about. This guy has made deep draw runs in Grand Slams and captured Masters 1000 titles in the past. So really, when he is playing in a 250-level tournament, he should be winning the title – depending on who else is involved.
Surprise losses to low-ranked players
Circling back to the loss to Jarry now, this is yet another loss sustained against players who are ranked much lower than himself. In fact, if you look back at his last five tournaments, he has lost to guys ranked outside of the ATP top 20. And if you look even further back, Tsitsipas has been taken out of numerous tournaments by guys ranked outside of the top 40 or even 50. As for how he is ranked 5 despite a somewhat disappointing season, the fact that he made the finals of the 2023 Australian Open has kept him at the top.
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