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Greek shines in Milan




MILAN, Italy — Stefanos Tsitsipas capped a rollercoaster season by winning the Next Gen ATP Final on Saturday, but the rising Greek star conceded he was slightly bemused by the rules of the tournament.

To be honest with you, I’m confused myself

The 20-year-old from Athens came through 2-4, 4-1, 4-3 (7/3), 4-3 (7/3) on his third match point against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur after one hour and 41 minutes to win his second career title after Stockholm last month.

“To be honest with you, I’m confused myself. I don’t really know what I liked and what I didn’t like,” said the Tsitsipas.

The round-robin tournament for players under 21 years old has a shorter format than other tournaments, playing sets of first to four games, with tie breaks at 3-3.

It is designed to increase the number of pivotal moments in a match, while playing best-of-five sets does not alter the number of games required to win a match (12) from the traditional three-set scoring format.

“The games are very stressful. Obviously there’s no advantage so you need to be twice more concentrated,” said Tsitsipas, who has jumped from 91st at the start of the season to world number 15.

“But, I love those rules because I won.”

Players can communicate with their coaches through headsets, with line calls using the Hawk-Eye Live system, backed up by a video review system.

This year for the first time a towel rack was placed at the back of court after Spaniard Fernando Verdasco came under fire for his treatment of a ball boy at last month’s Shenzhen Open.

Tsitsipas — an alternate in last year’s inaugural edition of the tournament, which was won by South Korea’s Chung Hyeon — declared he was “not a fan of the towel thing or the headset.”

The games are very stressful. Obviously there’s no advantage so you need to be twice more concentrated.

“The headset, I’m not a big fan of it, but you could see from the reaction yesterday,” he smiled, after smashing his headset in Friday’s semi-final.

“No-let rule, we didn’t have problems with it this week.

“Live Hawk-Eye was exciting … very, very good. No mistakes. Very accurate. Very responsive… just much better than the human eye. So I love the live Hawk-Eye.

“Hopefully it can be put in more events in the future and be the innovation of the game,” added Tsitsipas, who finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Barcelona and Toronto.