As if a first-round loss would be shocking US Open wasn’t painful enough Stefanos Tsitsipas also had to ruin his lost shot at world No. 1 after his four-set loss to the Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan on Monday evening.
The Greek was one of five players who had the opportunity to hold the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP rankings at the end of the tournament at Flushing Meadows, but that dream is now over.
“I was very motivated and pumped up before the US Open started because I knew I could use this tournament to get closer to first place,” Tsitsipas said. “It would be very strange and very unusual if it didn’t come to my mind because it’s something I’ve wanted since I was a kid and I know now is my chance to improve on it.
“It just didn’t go as planned. Sometimes you just have to let it go, you don’t have to think about it, you don’t have to try too hard, but at the same time it’s difficult because there’s this open opportunity right in front of you, you don’t want to screw it up, you don’t want to waste it.
“My chances, I guess, are a little smaller. The rim isn’t as thin as it used to be after US Open But I’ll still try to add points to my rankings as much as I can by the end of the year, I really want to maybe get in the top 3… more opportunities ahead of me.”
Tsitsipas received treatment on his upper right arm during the game but said Galan’s ultra-aggressive play – especially on returns – was the bigger factor in the 6-0, 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 defeat he lost the first 11 games of the game.
“My arm was pretty tight, nothing came from my punches. I felt like my serve was very slow today but it was close to 120’s so I wouldn’t necessarily say that. But he came back great, very good. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the height he grew up at, which sure helps a lot with stuff like this.
“It occurred to me as I started playing him what could be the cause. He did a great job, he completely dominated the game. I just didn’t get into the game at all, it was like I was half dead.”
Tsitsipas, who has never reached the second week US Openis No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings while Galan moves up 14 spots to No. 80.
“He played like a world-class player and I played like an amateur, not very nice to say but that’s how it happened,” said the two-timer Rolex Monte Carlo Masters master said.
“I was very well prepared, I played really well in training, had some really good games against different types of players. I felt the momentum was in my favor, I was maybe a bit tense going into the game went. US Open, I’ve never really had a good story here, but I really like the tournament. I just need to work on the negative thoughts a little bit more and not let them get to me and not get in my head because I’m better than that, I’m a much better player and athlete but definitely not today.”