Stefanos Tsitsipas said he had a little extra motivation to win his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title against Andrey Rublev on Sunday as he was keen to join his mother on the honor roll at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
The 22-year-old told reporters he was six when he came to the club for the first time with his mother, Julia Salnikova, who won a junior title at the same venue in 1981.
His mother, who also played in the Fed Cup for the Soviet Union, reached a career-high ranking of 130.
“She showed me that name up there. I was… stunned. I was like, ‘Wow, that is really cool. How cool is that?’” the Greek tennis phenom said.
“I didn’t think about it in the beginning of the tournament, but it came to my mind when I was playing the semi-finals. I was thinking that would be really cool to be in this together, like mother like son.
“That’s where the whole purpose came from. I feel like there was an enormous amount of willingness to want to do more in order to be there with my mom.”
Tsitsipas won the final of Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, beating sixth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets (6-3, 6-3) on Sunday.
Appearing in his third final at the level, Tsitsipas dropped just four points behind his first serve (24/28) to capture the second biggest title of his career after just 71 minutes.
Tsitsipas claimed early breaks in each set and dominated on serve to narrow the gap on Rublev at the top of the 2021 wins leaderboard.
“I stepped up my game, brought this good game, good tennis. I didn’t see any reason for me to leave from here without the trophy. I felt like I deserved it,” he said.
“I’ve put so much effort and so much concentration into it. Definitely something that I deserve. More opportunities like this is going to show up and come up in the future, so I need to be ready to show my consistency and prevail with that.”
Tsitsipas is youngest player ranked in top 10
Tsitsipas, who is the youngest player ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), has a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history.
He was the champion at the 2019 ATP Finals, becoming the youngest winner of the year-end championships in eighteen years. He has won five singles titles and reached ten finals on the ATP Tour.
Born into a tennis family where his mother Julia Apostoli was a professional on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour and his father was trained as a tennis coach, Tsitsipas was introduced to the sport at age three and began taking lessons at age six.
As a junior, he was ranked No. 1 in the world. He also became the third Greek player, and first Greek male in the Open era, to win a junior Grand Slam title with a victory in the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ doubles event.