Wimbledon 2019 has certified the crisis of the Next Generation and the great health of the over-30s, but the season played by twenty-years-old Stefanos Tsitsipas has so far been overall positive. With some ups and downs and a couple of very disappointing moments.
But it was a clear sign of weakness (shown by all NextGen players) what happened at the All England Club. "I can win Wimbledon" These were the words of Greek on the eve of the tournament. Result: he was blatantly and surprisingly eliminated in the first round against the unpredictable Thomas Fabbiano.
Surely, on a surface and in a context in which we all expected something more, Stefanos disappointed all the expectations that insiders and media had about him, at Wimbledon. In London, he experienced the lowest point of the last six months that had begun so well for him.
He reached the semi-final at the Australian Open (clearly lost against Rafael Nadal), he won in Marseille against Mikhail Kukushkin, made final in Dubai lost against Roger Federer, won in Estoril against Pablo Cuevas and made final in Madrid lost, against Novak Djokovic. Even at the Rogers Cup and in Cincinnati he played a bad tournament and his six months of truth begun in the wors way.
Paradoxically, in the tournaments everyone expected his final leap, Tsitsipas played badly: Indian Wells (out at first-round against Felix Auger-Aliassime), Miami (out in the third round against Denis Shapovalov) and just at Wimbledon (and throughout the whole grass-swing, in what was the worst month of his season).
In the North American hard-court season, he lost in a spectacular semifinal at Washington against Nick Kyrgios. He also lost early in Montreal and Cincinnati, dropping points off his final's finish at the Rogers Cup last year.
However, while he had some bad results, he also broke into the top-five of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career. And the part that he will have to develop best will be the mental side of his tennis. The continuity in results is a quality that no NextGen still manages to have, as differently happens to the Big Three, always competitive, twelve months a year, or almost. The difference between a top player and a normal player lies in these fundamental aspects.