LONDON (Information) – Rafael Nadal will finish the yr because the world’s top-ranked participant and the “huge three” retained their stranglehold on the Grand Slam titles, however when Stefanos Tsitsipas was topped ATP Finals champion on Sunday it felt like a watershed second.
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 17, 2019 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas talks to the group after successful his closing match in opposition to Austria’s Dominic Thiem Motion Photographs through Information/Tony O’Brien
“I consider I’m actually shut on being topped a Grand Slam champion. I do know these are sturdy phrases that I say, however I do really feel like I belong to be there,” the 21-year-old Greek boldly claimed after beating Dominic Thiem.
There have been false dawns earlier than after all. Germany’s Alexander Zverev, like Greek Tsitsipas, was additionally 21 final yr when he beat Novak Djokovic to win the season-ender in London.
Zverev couldn’t again it up on this yr’s Slams, two of which had been received by the 33-year-old Nadal and two by the 32-year-old Djokovic. They’ve 19 and 16 majors every whereas Roger Federer, at 38, will nonetheless consider he can add to the document 20 he has gathered throughout his extraordinary profession.
However for the primary time, that golden trio can be having an anxious look over their shoulders. The previous week in London has revealed a brand new fearlessness within the era of 20 somethings anticipated to fill the void after they name it a day.
Austrian Thiem, who at 26 is a longtime power, acquired the ball rolling when he beat Federer on the opening day of the ATP’s unique year-ender.
The next day Germany’s Zverev beat Nadal for the primary time in his profession whereas earlier that day Tsitsipas marked his match debut by beating 23-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev, who reached this yr’s U.S. Open closing, for the primary time
It didn’t cease there. Thiem then beat Djokovic and Medvedev ought to have overwhelmed Nadal, shedding from 5-1 up within the decider.
On Saturday, Tsitsipas silenced the Federer fan membership to eclipse the six-time champion in straight units to succeed in the ultimate — beating the Swiss maestro with the type of attacking recreation Federer has trademarked.
With Nadal and Djokovic bumped out within the group, Federer’s semi-final defeat meant it was solely the third time since 2002 that at the very least certainly one of that trio had not reached the ultimate.
Which will have disenchanted some, however the high quality and depth of Sunday’s closing during which Tsitsipas beat Thiem 6-7(6) 6-2 7-6(four) to grow to be the youngest champion on the season-ending match since 2001, had the O2 Enviornment viewers enthralled.
“The query to be requested is the place is the highway going after Djokovic, Federer and Nadal and after this week I believe we’re in protected arms,” former world primary Boris Becker mentioned.
With the likes of Medvedev and fellow Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, Canadian duo Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, Australia Alex De Minaur and Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner, to not point out German Zverev, gathering en masse, change is brewing.
Thiem, overwhelmed in successive French Open finals by Nadal, believes subsequent yr might herald a brand new Grand Slam champion.
“I believe that for positive we are able to do it subsequent yr. We’re all enjoying nice tennis,” Thiem mentioned. “Sascha (Zverev), Stefanos, me, another guys. I’m fairly positive that we’re going to see a brand new and younger Grand Slam champion subsequent yr.”
Tsitsipas properly identified, nonetheless, that over best-of-five-set matches, beating the large three stays a large problem, even when he did down Federer in Australia.
“That’s a very troublesome activity to do for gamers,” he mentioned. “For us, for the younger guys, it’s all about time. I don’t know. We must beat them or look forward to them.”
On the proof of the previous seven days the ready recreation could also be about to return to an finish.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Modifying by Ken Ferris