Stefanos Tsitsipas has crowned an incredible year as has become the youngest ATP Finals champion in 18 years to collect the biggest title of his career.
The 21-year-old Greek bounced back from dropping a tight first set to overcome Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in the battle of first-time finalists at the season-ending event.
World No.6 Tsitsipas raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second and then held off his Austrian opponent’s comeback in the third to win in two hours and 34 minutes.
Last year’s ATP Next Gen champion, Tsitsipas couldn’t capitalise on another early break and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set but won the last three points of the tiebreaker, clinching the win when Thiem sent a return wide.
Tsitsipas is the youngest winner of the ATP Finals since a 20-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 – and the youngest debutant to lift the trophy since John McEnroe in 1978.
“I was playing with nerves, it’s such a big event,” Tsitsipas said.
“I was a break up in the third set but couldn’t hold it, but I’m so relieved with this outstanding performance I gave on the court.”
Tsitsipas, who was congratulated by his country’s prime minister after his semi-final win over Roger Federer, praised the legions of Greek fans who made the 02 in London feel like a home away from home for the new champion.
“It’s phenomenal, unbelievable to have such an army behind me, they give me energy, and belief, and I just love that,” he said.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me with a Greek flags and made me feel at home.”
World No.5 Thiem beat both six-time champion Roger Federer and five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the group stage but lost another big final after twice finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
It is the fourth year in a row that there is a first-time champion at the season-ending event, after wins by Andy Murray in 2016, Gregor Dimitrov in 2017 and Alexander Zverev last year.
Earlier on Sunday, French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won the doubles title by beating Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-3 6-4.