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May 15, 2018
S. TSITSIPAS/B. Coric
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Stefanos, please.
Q. We talked a few days ago by phone. You said that if you are going to win in Milan or --
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah. Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Q. -- you are going to speak Italian. So, first of all, Denis wrote on the camera "Daje Roma!"
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Denis, you said?
Q. Denis Shapovalov, just now. He won and wrote "Daje, Roma," is like "Go, Roma!"
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: "Go, Roma!" I saw it.
Q. So, you have to think something about that for your next step here in Rome.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Am I going to play in center court?
Q. I hope.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Because that's only where the camera is.
Yeah, yeah. As I said to you, if I do well here -- you know, too well here, then I made a bet with myself I'm gonna learn Italian.
Q. Apart from this, so today you won because of - - well, you worked a lot here in Rome for the qualification.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah. The first round - -
Oh, my god, that's very loud.
The first round was a key to do well in this tournament. I remember I was very exhausted that day, from all the work I've done previously. So, I said to myself, If you manage to win the first round of a quarterfinal, it will be very, very important for the rest of your tournament and for your confidence. And to feel a little bit better, you know.
And that match with Kukushkin was really - - I mean, I gave my spirit out on the court. And it was very important that I managed to overcome all the difficulties he gave me during this long match.
I managed to, you know, stay stable with the way I played. And it was a bit unusual. I never played a player like him on clay, playing so flat and low. And he was playing really good that day, to be honest. He was almost playing, to my opinion - - I've played a lot of players - - and to me, he was playing almost like a Top 20 guy on clay that day.
So, it was a very good match from him. And, you know, at the end some has to win and it was me, fortunately.
And, yeah, it was a very, very close match, especially the tiebreaker in the third set. It was a lot of tension.
Q. How happy are you that you didn't have to go to a third set tiebreak today? Because it feels like you've been in a third set tiebreak pretty much every other mach in the past two or three weeks.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah. Yeah, it happened I think four times in a row, right? My last four matches were last-set tiebreak. I actually forgot about it.
Tiebreaks are actually tough, really tough -- on clay specifically because, as I said, I don't know if you remember, I said that clay court game is very similar to chess. You need to play the right shots, the right angles. A lot of mental, you know, think involved in the clay court game.
And, you know, serve gets - - it's not that big of a key when you play on clay, so you need to think well and execute well.
So, what was the question again?
The tiebreaks, that's right. Yeah, sorry. I'm ...
Yeah, tiebreaks. Tiebreaks are --
And at this level, I believe there are a lot of tiebreaks because, yeah, service.
But as I said, it's not the key. But, you know, when you have two good servers, the tiebreak comes at the end. And the one who is a bit more patient wins the tiebreak.
So, tiebreaker, much more pressure than any other part of the match. The player usually wins tiebreaks and the rest of the match, yeah.
Q. One of your goals, you said, was grass. And looking at your game, clay would be a less suitable surface for you. Are you surprised by the amazing results here, having played on clay?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Not really, to be honest. I was very confident in myself when I entered the clay court season. I knew I can do - - I can have good results on clay because I feel very, very confident when I play on clay. And I know the surface very well.
So, I wasn't surprised these results came because that's how I felt from the beginning. I felt that I could pull this out and do good against these players. So, not really, I wasn't surprised. I was waiting for the -- I was waiting for the opportunity, basically.
Q. I want to ask you, not about today's match but your mom. Your mother was your coach when you were very young. Right?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, kind of. Half with my dad, yes.
Q. Okay. Denis Shapovalov, he described his mother as like a former Soviet Union style. So I was wondering what kind of culture, what kind of method she used to train you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was very important that I came from a second background, is that correct? That I had two different cultures, Greek and Russian, involved in my life. It gave me a whole different perspective about things.
And having my mom in tennis was pretty nice. And most importantly, both of my parents were involved with tennis.
And it's -- my mom actually, you know, gave me a lot of discipline in my game. That's what I believe helped me a lot. Discipline. Which, in Greek culture is not, you know, that common, I would say.
Yeah, ( laughing).
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: You can imagine.
Discipline is very important in competitive sport. To have discipline and know the capability of what you can do with yourself and stay humble. So, that's what she specifically told me. As a kid, that's what I remember.
Q. Talking about fantasy and the way you talk. I remember you at Next Gen and filming and interviewing people. In your opinion, you and Shapovalov, you are more fantasy between the Next Gen and the young coming, compared to the Russian Khachanov, Medvedev. They have fantasy, in the game. Do you think that you and Shapovalov have something different, maybe starting from the backhand one-hand?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Something different in the fantasy in the game you said. In the game, not outside of the court?
Q. The one-handed backhand, specifically.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, one-handed backhand, it's back on. It used to be gone for a bit, you know. You would see many players with the one-handed backhand.
And I always preferred the one-handed backhand because it was more natural to me.
And I also like Shapovalov's backhand. It's very, very nice. Very clean technically backhand and very fluid and nice motion. It actually helps him a lot. You know, he's a lefty so he can also open the court very well from the backhand and also play down the line, also.
I would kind of say there's an evolution in that in the way the one-handed backhand is rising, you know. People see many players now with the one-handed backhand and get inspired, they want to do the same.
So, it's nice to have this kind of influence in the Next Gen of players that play with the one-handed backhand. It makes it more interesting for the fans and, you know, to inspire other people to do the same thing.
Q. Maria Sakkari collected a certain sum from the Greek Federation to prepare for 2020. She apparently shared that with you and - -
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, that's right.
Q. Can you talk about you as the Greek group, small Greek group, how you get along and how that is for you, as well? That's a very nice gesture.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, it was a very, very nice gesture. I didn't see that to be coming, to be honest. I thanked her two days ago, three days ago.
And that was very nice from here. Not everyone will do it, to be honest.
And she's a lovely girl. And she's also a very good competitor out on the court. And I'm very proud that me and her, we can bring tennis in Greece to another level. We're good friends, you know. In the tournaments.
And, yeah, it was a surprise. I actually, I was not even -- It was a funny story because I was not even notified. I was not even -- Nobody told me about it. I found out through the news. And not even - - You know, no one told me. I went there and saw that and was not even prepared for that. And I said, What? That's really nice of her.
And, yeah, she's amazing. What she did was really nice, really nice gesture.
Q. You were saying she wants to play Hopman Cup with you. Is that a goal of yours, as well? Are you trying to --
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: We talked about it two days ago, yeah.
And apparently, yeah, we have some offers. And I hope we can team up together, you know, and play I think first time for Greece. Represent Greece for the first time in the Hopman Cup would be amazing, to be honest. It's a dream come true.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports