In one of the most decorated encounters in the history of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas battled for more than three hours like it was a Major final! In the end, Nadal prevailed 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, lifting the record-breaking fifth Mubadala crown and moving ahead of Novak Djokovic who stayed on four.
Stefanos had his chances as well, staying neck and neck with world no. 1 all the time and wasting the opportunity to seal the deal in straight sets when he wasted break chances at 4-4 in the second set. Despite the loss, the Greek showed an incredible level of tennis that should guide him towards more significant titles in 2020 after conquering the ATP FInals crown on debut in November.
In the last couple of years, the Greek has made giant steps towards the top of men's game, improving his game regularly and becoming a Major contender at the Australian Open this January when he reached the semi-final.
Tsitsipas has already played in Masters 1000 finals as well, setting eyes on high goals in 2020 when he wants to crack the top-3 and become a Grand Slam champion. The Greek already scored wins over Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, hoping for more of the same in the upcoming season and looking to carry this form into the ATP Cup and the Australian Open.
Praising the young opponent, Nadal thinks it is good for a player to chase big goals, although it is not always easy to fulfill them. The Spaniard said many players will battle for the place in the top-3 in the next season and Stefanos is undoubtedly among them, possessing all the skills to join the elite group and fight for big titles in the future.
"It's good that Stefanos has big ambitions," Nadal said. "It's important to have clear goals; then, you have to realize them and it is not easy because being in the top three is challenging. There are a lot of players that will fight to be in the higher positions of the ranking but of course, he had a great season and will fight for significant titles in the future."