World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas is set to make his third appearance at the BNP Paribas Open this week and is excited to be back in California as he targets his second ATP Masters 1000 crown of the season.
“California is a great place for tennis with great weather and ideal conditions,” Tsitsipas said. “When it comes to organising things for players [it is great]. Indian Wells is known to be one of the best tennis tournaments in the world and every single player is excited to be playing here.
“It does feel like a big thing, you kind of feel the same honour at this tournament and Miami as a Slam. There is something about it.”
Tsitsipas arrives in Indian Wells having helped guide Team Europe to a fourth consecutive victory over Team World at the Laver Cup last month. While the 23-year-old enjoyed uniting with fellow Top 10 stars for the event, he is ready to return to solo duty in California.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot, Tsitsipas said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hard-court tournament was cancelled in 2020 and pushed back from March to October this year. However, it returns with crowds this week and after competing at the US Open and the Laver Cup in the past month, Tsitsipas is relishing the opportunity to play in front of fans in the United States once again.
The second seed, who has never advanced past the second round in two previous appearances at the BNP Paribas Open, will begin against World No. 59 Pedro Martinez or Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora.
“Americans love sport. The American audience appreciates a high level of tennis. They have been really into tennis in the last couple of years. They have had great tennis players in the United States. I grew up watching them. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier. They gave so much to the sport and that is the reason we are here now.”
Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour