• Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, 19, could be a dangerous floater in the men's draw at Roland Garros. (AAP)
He's the first Greek man to make tennis's top 100 and now teenage sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas hopes to make his mark at the French Open in Paris.
By
SBS Sport

Source:
AAP
27 May 2018 - 7:15 AM  UPDATED 27 May 2018 - 7:15 AM

Beware a Greek bearing a backhand from the Gods.

Stefanos Tsitsipas most probably will not win the French Open this year but such have been the strides he has made the 19-year-old could be a dangerous floater in the men's draw.

A year ago the Athenian was ranked 205th but he arrived at Roland Garros in 2018 as the world No.40.

The first Greek man to reach the top 100 he made everyone sit up and take notice in April when he also became the first from his country for 45 years to contest an ATP Tour final, losing to Rafael Nadal in Barcelona.

On the way, he beat then-world No.7 Dominic Thiem and Spanish clay-court specialist Pablo Carreno Busta.

A week later, he beat then-world No.8 eight Kevin Anderson on the way to the semi-finals in Estoril.

So there will be plenty of attention on Tsitsipas next week in his fourth grand slam main-draw appearance.

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Should he beat Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner and record a first grand slam win, it could set up the standout match of the second round - against Austrian Thiem, the only man to beat Nadal on clay in the past 12 months.

Former French Open champion Jim Courier, working as a commentator for ITV, will be having a word with his producer to make sure he is calling that potential clash.

"He is really talented, a great flowing backhand and he's about six foot three so he's about the perfect build for the modern game, and he played awfully well in Barcelona," Courier said.

"He has a tough draw with Thiem second round. He's a danger for sure, though even if Thiem is such a physical player.

"I hope I get to call that match if they get there."

Tsitsipas's rise has sparked a wave of interest in tennis in Greece with the teenager saying "it has gone viral".

"Many people were talking about it and I had plenty of interviews that I did on big channels in Greece for big media centres. It got people's attention," he said.

"There were some politicians who congratulated me, so I was very happy I got so much attention.

"It makes me motivated to do even better in the future, and become even more popular.

"I hope to inspire more people to play tennis in Greece."