In 2004, Greece hosted the Summer Olympics. Stefanos Tsitsipas was a little boy when his native land brought the Games back to their birthplace. In the ensuing years, the Greek economy has fallen on very hard times.
I’m not here to make economic policy analysis or recommendations. I am only pointing out that throwing a party is no sign or guarantee of long-term economic stability or prosperity. Careful, sustained, sensible management is necessary to maintain productivity and other positive indicators.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and his team are surely aware of this after a high-quality fortnight of competition, punctuated by a high-level Dubai final against Roger Federer on Saturday.
Tsitsipas, only 20, has young legs and — instructively — a young mind. He thinks big, he dreams big. He wants the world. That is fine. We should aspire to greatness.
With this in mind, SURE, why not play every tennis tournament one can play at this age? Go for it. Live life a little bit.
Tsitsipas is not at the Alexander Zverev stage where he has won multiple Masters titles, has had problems running into a low ceiling at major tournaments, and absolutely needs to adjust his schedule to peak at the majors. Tsitsipas has points to pick up, tournaments to play, and can treat this 2019 season as a wide-open book on which he can write whatever story he wants. He can treat this year as a learning experience, and become more mature in his scheduling later. There is nothing to lament or criticize in his high-workload February schedule, which went from Sofia to Rotterdam to Marseille to Dubai.
The key point after his impressive week in Dubai — and a fortnight with two finals in France and the United Arab Emirates — is simply this: Tsitsipas was able to play these last two full weeks because the previous two weeks didn’t go well.
If Tsitsipas had played a full week in Rotterdam, he very likely wouldn’t have been able to do what he did the past two weeks.
None of this cheapens or reduces the quality or caliber of Tsitsipas’s achievements in France or Dubai. It is merely meant to show that human beings have limits and can do certain things at certain moments only because they are — or were — limited at one particular point in time.
This next statement is a life truth, but it is such a central part of every tennis season as well: When one door closes, another opens. One week’s early loss makes participation in — and success at — another tournament possible.
Stefanos Tsitsipas won’t schedule like David Ferrer or Nikolay Davydenko forever and ever. In 2019, he can be free and ambitious. Even then, though, he needed some limits in Sofia and Rotterdam to do what he did in Marseille and Dubai.
If he loses early in Indian Wells, I won’t be concerned at all… and Tsitsipas will probably realize yet another key to an enduringly productive Greek tennis economy.