‘Nothing Matters’: Attitude Adjustment Helps Tsitsipas Rediscover His Rhythm

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during their men's singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during their men's singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
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‘Nothing Matters’: Attitude Adjustment Helps Tsitsipas Rediscover His Rhythm

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during their men's singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during their men's singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on June 2, 2023. (AFP)

Stefanos Tsitsipas said he is getting back to his best by easing the burden on his shoulders and playing without any expectations as he cruised into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Friday.

Once considered the rising star to take on the mantle as the "Big Three" - Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic - give way to a new generation, 24-year-old Tsitsipas has yet to win a Grand Slam.

The Greek lost two major finals to Djokovic, including this year's Australian Open title clash, and has seen younger players like Carlos Alcaraz emerge and rise to world number one.

But Tsitsipas said he has changed his mindset to play with a carefree attitude and not focus on the result, which helped him beat claycourt specialist Schwartzman in straight sets.

"I've produced some really good tennis when I'm at a psychological state of 'nothing matters and I don't care anymore'. And I just want to play it, I don't care what the outcome will be," Tsitsipas told reporters.

"And (in) moments like this, I have broken back. I've suddenly found my rhythm back into the game. I guess there is lack of expectation, lack of thought... when you're out there because you're constantly analyzing every decision.

"When you let go of that, when you - I don't like using that word because I've never really done it in a tennis match - when you kind of 'tank', for some players it can be very beneficial and help them play better in a way."

Tsitsipas was at his sublime best against Schwartzman, firing 34 winners past the Argentine, including one of the shots of the tournament - a sliding backhand winner around the post that drew a roar from the crowd.

"We never practice that, it was a one-off," he said with a laugh. "It was the very last millisecond when I decided, 'You know what, forget the net, we don't need it on that particular occasion.'

"I saw there was a gap there I could utilize and it just went through. It was a very good, satisfying feeling getting that winner down the line... It felt like hitting a home run."



Buoyant Hamilton Seeking to Keep Momentum and More Records

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 7, 2024. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 7, 2024. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)
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Buoyant Hamilton Seeking to Keep Momentum and More Records

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 7, 2024. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on July 7, 2024. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)

A buoyant Lewis Hamilton heads into this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix on the crest of a wave, seeking a record-increasing ninth Hungaroring victory and Mercedes' third consecutive win of the season.
After two years of struggles, Hamilton ended his long winless run at the British Grand Prix with a record ninth home triumph at Silverstone and hopes to repeat that feat in forecast intense heat at the track where last year he secured his most recent pole position, AFP said.
Following his emotional success in front of an adoring crowd in the English rain, Hamilton said he felt excited at the prospect of returning to a track where he has scored several memorable victories in his career.
"I love Hungary," he said. "And so I am definitely looking forward to going there. The trajectory we're now on and the fact that the car is starting to really, really come alive and feel great. I can't wait."
The 39-year-old seven-time world champion won at the Hungaroring -- a tight, twisty and often dusty circuit 22 kilometers north of Budapest -- in his debut season for McLaren in 2007 and again in 2009 and 2012.
After switching to Mercedes, he continued to relish the unique challenge of a track often described as 'Monaco without the walls' and won again in 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
If he secures a podium finish this Sunday, it will be the 200th of his career, a pole position would be a record-extending 10th, landmark achievements that set him apart as he bids to add to team-mate George Russell's victory in Austria and his own in Britain.
He and Russell know, however, that they will not be favorites despite their recent successes as defending three-time champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull bids to complete a hat-trick of Hungarian wins after triumphs in 2022 and last year.
"Last year was brilliant," said Verstappen. "I have good memories of racing here and last year achieved our 12th win in a row. So, hopefully, we can have a great race again."
Midway point
The Dutchman leads the title race by 84 points ahead of nearest rival and friend Lando Norris of McLaren as the season crosses the midway point after 12 of the scheduled 24 races.
Team boss Christian Horner expects a close scrap.
"It's going to be interesting to see how we perform there," he said.
"It could be very hot and I think it will be the usual people who are quick at the moment and it will be very, very close again."
That suggests Horner considers Red Bull will be fighting with McLaren and Mercedes on recent evidence, but with Ferrari likely to return to form on a tighter circuit –- not unlike Monaco where Charles Leclerc gained an emotional home win in May.
With the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps following immediately, within a week, the double-header offers an opportunity for teams to make a telling impact before Formula One takes its annual 'summer shutdown' during August.
This will translate as more pressure for struggling Sergio Perez of Red Bull who is hoping to escape a nightmare run having scored only 15 points in his last six outings since agreeing a new contract.
Ferrari are also in need of a solid result from Leclerc but have struggled with a recent upgrade package that failed.
"When you're at the sharp end, it's all marginal gains," said Horner. "Mercedes were very quick at Silverstone, took pole and the front row and then executed a good race... at least Lewis did."
His Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff admitted: "We have momentum and gained headline results in Austria and at Silverstone, but we don't yet have a car to challenge for victories every weekend.
"The Hungaroring is very different in character to the last two circuits. We will focus on doing the best we can and hope to maintain our trajectory."