Newly minted Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas remains in awe of the 11 titles won by Rafael Nadal at the Spaniard’s home event in Barcelona.
The Greek who is seeded second behind the king of clay at the Real Club de Tenis, said on Tuesday that achieving such a total is beyond any other player’s wildest dreams.
The 34-year-old from Mallorca has won three of the last four editions in the Catalan capital and will make a second-round start against Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka; Tsitsipas kicks off against Spain’s Jaime Munar.
Tsitsipas reached the final here in 2018 and ran into Nadal, who allowed him just three games in a one-way title victory.
“It is true that I lost, but I learned a lot from the defeat,” he said. “It is incredible that he has won 11 times here.
“I would be satisfied with half that many trophies.”
The ATP No. 5 now leads the points race to the year-end final in Turin. And Tsitsipas believes that after claiming his first masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, a Grand Slam is also a reality.
“I see myself with possibilities, but one thing is to think about it and the other to do it.
“I saw Nadal, Federer and Djokovic play in the big tournaments as a child and now I’m playing the games against them,” the 22-year-old said.