MADRID: World number five Stefanos Tsitsipas said his run to the final in Barcelona had served as a reminder of what it felt like to be a strong contender at a tournament again and left him full of confidence heading into this week’s Madrid Open. After missing out on a first Grand Slam title in January with defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, Tsitsipas went out early in Rotterdam and Indian Wells before reaching the fourth round in Miami and the Monte Carlo quarters. The 24-year-old then bounced back in Barcelona, where he lost to world number two Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday, but his recent form has him in good spirits with Roland Garros on the horizon. Tsitsipas said he had a lot of matches on clay under his belt and he considered himself a “candidate” in Madrid. “The run I had in Barcelona brought me joy because after the Australian Open I didn’t go deep in tournaments,” he said. “Now I’ve had a first glimpse of what it is to be strong again. Things are looking pretty bright.” Tsitsipas could come up against defending champion Alcaraz in the Madrid final and the Greek said it was difficult to match the world number two’s focus and dedication to the sport. “In order to get there I’d have to spend hours on the court practising, also hours in the gym working out and hours in my room analysing my past performances and trying to get better,” he added. While Alcaraz will be favourite to follow up his Barcelona triumph with the Madrid title, Tsitsipas said the higher altitude of the Spanish capital offered him a “small advantage”. “I’m getting adjusted to that. It’s something that I’ve done pretty well in the past few years. I like the altitude, I think it’s good for my game,” he said.