Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek ATP champion at the Stockholm Open tennis tournament final on Sunday, landing a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
In a sensational match which lasted an hour and 21 minutes, the 20-year-old managed to outplay Gulbis in straight sets ending the player’s perfect record in finals.
“I feel happy because I’m the first Greek to win a title. Hopefully many Greek players can achieve something like this,” Tsitsipas told atpworldtour.com.
“Representing my country at such high-level tournaments, being the first Greek to crack the top 100 is very, very special for me.”
The win ads to an already remarkable season for the young star, who reached his first tour-level final in Barcelona, climbed up the rankings to No.16 and became the youngest player ranked in the top 20 by the ATP.
But the Stockholm win is probably his greatest pride so far and for good reason, as many of the top players in the history of the sport, including Roger Federer, Boris Becker and Mats Wilander have had the same breaktrough.
“This trophy, it is amazing… When I first came to this tournament, I saw all those names: Federer, [Juan Martin] Del Potro, and I was like, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to have my name there one day’?” Tsitsipas said. “It happened this week. I was very focused, determined to win the tournament… I played great tennis and I deserve to have that spot.”
Formerly top-10 Gulbis, now ranked 145, had an impressive record in ATP tournaments, having won all six of his previous finals. This was his first comeback to a final since 2014 and the 30-year-old was quick to acknowledge his fellow athlete’s triumph.
“He [Tsitsipas] played a really good match. He had a great week,” Gulbis said.
“I know it’s a big deal to win your first ATP title, so enjoy it. I wish that it’s not the last one.”