REUTERS: Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas is brimming with confidence and will be heading to Roland Garros this week with his best Grand Slam preparation after picking up his seventh ATP Tour title in Lyon on Sunday.
Basking in the glow of his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title last month at Monte-Carlo, the 22-year-old added the Lyon crown for his second title in 2021 and leads the 2021 season with most wins at 33.
"I've been feeling my game well; I've been using my patterns really well," Tsitsipas told reporters. "I've been pressing a lot with my serve. Just consistent on court, consistent with my power and the way that I attack and way I (take) risks.
"I think it would be considered my best (preparation) so far pre-Grand Slam and now all the attention is on next week. I love playing in Paris. I find it mesmerising."
Patrick Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, who is often seen in Tsitsipas' player box at tournaments, is pleased with the consistency displayed by the Greek.
"He's developing really well," Mouratoglou said of Tsitsipas, who is coached by his father Apostolos. "He's always been able to beat the best players," the Frenchman, who often works in an advisory role with Tsitsipas, told Reuters recently.
"He beat Rafa (Nadal) on clay several years ago already. He beat Roger at a Grand Slam, beat Novak at a Masters 1000 on hardcourt. But he was a bit up and down, and there were several reasons for that.
"And I think he's getting more and more solid. He's losing less and less. He's slowly but surely, imposing himself as a top guy who doesn't lose to guys who are ranked under. He's gained a lot of consistency in everything he is doing in his game."
Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals on the red clay at Roland Garros last year before falling to Novak Djokovic in five sets and Mouratoglou believes the two-time Australian Open semi-finalist was getting closer to a maiden major title.
"Rafa and Novak are still at the top of the game. But I think their margin is getting smaller and smaller. Several young guys can beat them now. The margin is getting thinner," Mouratoglou added.
"Every year I'm asked about Roland Garros and I answer that the only thing we don't know about Roland Garros is who Rafa is going to beat in the final.
"This year I can say Rafa is the favourite but some guys can beat him."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; editing by Shri Navaratnam)