Stefanos Tsitsipas is excited to be back in Toronto for the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. But the Greek is also thrilled for recognition he will earn before striking a ball at the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event.
The 22-year-old is projected to climb to a career-high No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday, passing Rafael Nadal.
“Being at the ranking that I will be tomorrow, it is a huge motivation and a very good indication that I’ve done great so far,” Tsitsipas said. “[I am] just generally blessed that I’ve put in so much work to make it to the top three, which [I would consider] quite a special milestone.”
Tsitsipas first cracked the Top 10 more than two years ago after a run to the Dubai final. But the Greek sees this accomplishment on another level.
“That [Top 10 breakthrough] was a great dream of mine being fulfilled. The top three is on its own, something completely different,” Tsitsipas said. “My purpose of doing this is self-improvement and trying to become a better person through tennis, so it matters.”
The Greek will not stop pushing to improve, though. That is Tsitsipas’ daily focus.
“I wake up every single day with a goal: to get better. To get better with my tennis, to get better in the sport that I chose to follow in my life,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m very happy I get to play that sport. I’m very happy that I get to inspire people doing what I do.”
Tsitsipas has fond memories of Toronto, where he made his first Masters 1000 final in 2018. During that run, the Greek became the youngest player to beat four Top 10 opponents at a single tournament since the ATP Tour was established in 1990.
Seeded third at this edition, Tsitsipas will hope to go even further at the Aviva Centre. He will play French lefty Ugo Humbert or Italian Lorenzo Sonego in his opening match and could face 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev in the third round.
“I’m feeling good with my game, really happy to be back to Toronto, one of my favourite places to compete and play tennis,” Tsitsipas said. “The location is exactly as I remember it. I’m just generally happy to be competing here again.”