Stefanos Tsitsipas explains why facing Federer and Nadal is so different as Djokovic-conqueror Cecchinato crashes out

Stefanos Tsitsipas roared to just his second victory at the French Open with a straight sets win over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer on Sunday afternoon.

The Greek was installed as the fourth favourite by the bookmakers ahead of the tournament, despite his lack of experience in Roland Garros, and he didn’t drop serve during a routine 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win over a player who reached the last-16 here last year.

Interestingly, Tsitsipas’ chances of glory on the clay courts of Paris were rated higher than Roger Federer’s, who also steamrolled his way into the second round.

It’s testament to the force the 20-year-old Greek has become and he particularly impressed during a battling win over Rafael Nadal in Madrid earlier this month.

Tsitsipas has enjoyed victories over both Federer and Nadal in 2019 and he gave an insight into how approaching a match with the legendary duo differs from a regular tour match-up.

‘I know that with them I have to be twice more focused and not give points away,’ he said.

Tsitsipas upset Roger Federer at the Australian Open

‘They control the court so well. They know what they’re doing. They know where they’re playing, so everything is actually counted on these small details.

‘I have seen the difference when I play the rest of the guys and them.

‘They don’t overplay, don’t do crazy things. But they play so right, and they always actually are confident with themselves, with anything they are doing. I think that’s the difference that I have seen.’

On his own chances at the French Open, he added: ‘I have to take it match by match. If I think too far, things might turn out to go reverse and go the other way around.

‘So I don’t want to think that far. Obviously I want to stay here as long as possible, because the vibe of this tournament is nice. So let’s just take it step by step.’

Tsitsipas beat Nadal in Madrid

In a wide-ranging press conference, Tsitsipas also made an interesting comment regarding the value of youngsters training on the clay.

‘I personally think that starting on clay is the best thing if you have kids,’ he said. ‘Learning tennis on clay is very good for your body, for your development. It’s a way to learn how to slide, basically learn the basics of tennis. Then you can move to hard. That’s my personal opinion.’

His insight was particularly striking given Britain’s lack of clay courts. Indeed, most of the top players in the world have spent the majority of their youth training on the dirt.

Meanwhile, Marco Cecchinato surrendered a two-set lead to crash out of the French Open at the hands of home favourite Nicolas Mahut.

Mahut was emotional after his win

The Italian made headlines in 2018 when he downed Novak Djokovic to reach the semi-finals in Paris but the 16th seed was a surprise casualty this time around.

The 2-6 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 6-4 win was some moment for 37-year-old Frenchman, who celebrated with his son on court after the match, and a cracking way to baptise newly-built Simonne-Mathieu.

It’s a must-see court for all tennis lovers, with its greenhouse-esque divine giving it a unique feel.

The atmosphere during Mahut’s rousing comeback will certainly take some topping.

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