Stefanos Tsitsipas is undoubtedly a polarising figure in the world of tennis, and his bid to break a grand slam maiden continued throughout the year of 2022.
But heading into the new year and the Australian Open, the 24-year-old is fully focused and believes an increased level of maturity will hold him in good stead.
Tsitsipas has cemented himself as one of the world’s best players in recent years, climbing the ATP rankings and holding a spot within the top-five consistently.
After making the final of the French Open in 2021 and semi-finals of the Australian Open last year, the Greek superstar is yet to have the breakthrough performance many have been expecting.
MORE: Kyrgios trumps Djokovic in exhibition clash | Osaka withdraws due to pregnancy
In a recent interview with Wett Freunde, Tsitsipas spoke openly about the changes to his game on and off the court heading into the first grand slam of the year.
“I think I’ve matured a bit over the past few months, so I’m aware that if I’m able to fulfil my potential in Melbourne, I’ll have a good chance of winning my first Grand Slam title in my career,” he said.
“This also includes a bit of luck and certain details, such as how you are on the day, which will play an important role.
“I have a good feeling. I’ve been training hard in the last few weeks after my vacation, especially in the endurance area. Now I feel ready for this new season.
“On the court, I’m only concerned with my game and not at all with my opponent. It’s all in the head anyway. If I make a wrong decision, it’s my fault.
“It’s understandable to feel some stress when stepping onto the pitch, especially when you’re less confident.
“But when I play, I’m never scared. As a professional, it’s my job to put on a show for the audience and entertain them.”
Tsitsipas became embroiled in a feud with Aussie star Nick Kyrgios during their clashes in 2022, which could lead to a hostile environment at Melbourne Park over the next fortnight.
His improved maturity will only help him deal with the external noise – as will the changes to the technical aspects of his game.
“I’ve improved a lot in my defensive play on the baseline. I’ve been toiling a lot in the past few months, both on the court and in the weight room,” he said.
“I have completely changed my diet for this. I can now say that I sacrifice myself completely to achieve the highest goals. I’ve become more consistent, I make fewer mistakes, even if it’s supposed to get better.
“That’s also because I’m not as hectic as I used to be. This makes my game more efficient overall.
“I’ve also gotten smarter and have found that I always play better under pressure. I’m on the right track, but I don’t intend to rest on my laurels.
“I am very hungry and I am convinced that I can still go much further.”
Tsitsipas will take on Quentin Halys in the first round at Margaret Court Arena on Monday night (AEDT).