The night before his final match against Novak Djokovic, Stéfanos Tsitsipas dreamed of holding the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup over his head as the winner of the Australian Open. “I really, really want it badly,” the Greek tennis star and Rolex Testimonee told the press ahead of the historic match in January. Tsitsipas didn’t win that day in Melbourne. But he may not have to wait long to realize his dream of securing his first Grand Slam title.
Stéfanos Tsitsipas left Melbourne ranked third in the world, and his showing at the Australian Open is just the latest step in a steady climb towards the sport’s biggest achievement: winning one of the ATP tour’s four Grand Slam tournaments. At just 24 years old, Tsitsipas has already made history, most recently becoming the highest-ranked Greek player of all time in 2019. Since then, he has been chasing victory every year at the Australian Open, making it to the semi-finals for the last three consecutive events, and making the finals for the first time in 2023.
“The Australian Open has always been special for me,” Tsitsipas says. “The French players have Roland-Garros as their home Grand Slam, the British players have Wimbledon, the American players have the US Open. Melbourne is the city with the second-largest Greek population after Athens, [so] for me, the Australian Open is always going to be my home Grand Slam. I feel very much loved there.”
Tsitsipas achieved another career milestone when he was invited to compete under the Rolex banner in 2019. Rolex has been a major presence in professional tennis since 1978, when the Swiss watchmaker became the Official Timekeeper of The Championships, Wimbledon. Since then, Rolex has taken on the role of Official Timekeeper for all four tennis Grand Slams, with its iconic green and gold clock presiding over the biggest matchups in the sport. In addition to sponsorship support, becoming a Rolex Testimonee put Tsitsipas in the company of some of most decorated players in tennis history, from Björn Borg to Roger Federer, as well as other up-and-coming stars like Taylor Fritz and Holger Rune.
It was also a long-awaited opportunity to acquire his own grail watch. “What Rolex means to me is very different to other people,” he says. “For me, I never really owned a watch until recently, and I always had the idea that if I was to get a watch, it would be one of impeccable quality. I stuck by this and years later, I was able to get my first Rolex Daytona, which is still to this day one of my favourite watches to wear.”
Despite not taking the top prize in Melbourne, Tsitsipas left the Australian Open proud of what he accomplished there. “Being able to play and compete in finals like these is what you work for as a professional athlete, and reaching the Australian Open final this year has definitely given me lots of confidence to go and win a Grand Slam final,” he says. “I’m feeling great with my tennis at the moment. I genuinely believe in what I’m able to produce.”
The next big event on the Greek star’s schedule was the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April. He returned to the Monte Carlo Country Club as the defending champion before a loss to Taylor Fritz just before the semifinals.
Not one to languish, Tsitsipas will move on to the French Open in May where he’ll face off against the best players in the world on the famed clay courts of Roland-Garros, including Rafael Nadal who will be gunning for his 15th win there. Taking down Nadal at the French Open would be a monumental upset, but Tsitsipas remains optimistic about his prospects for the months ahead. In a sport like tennis, where wildcard players can beat reigning champs at major events, Tsitsipas could be just a few good sets away from the number one spot in the world.
“To win a Grand Slam and be world number one is a childhood dream,” he says. “Winning titles and trophies is the reason why I wake up early in the mornings for practice and work hard in my everyday life, but I think it’s important to celebrate even the smallest victories.”