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August 12, 2018

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

R. NADAL/S. Tsitsipas

6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations, Stefanos, on allowing us to witness your dreams come true.
I just have to remember your quote.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: "It never gets easier."

Q. "And you're always learning." Can you tell us what you learned maybe most of what your match was like today?

Q. Today.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Of how much I have to work. How much gap there is between him and me in our games, and how much more I need to -- I don't know. I don't want to be rude, but bust my ass more on the court.

Work more hours and become stronger and more solid baseliner. And withstand pressures, physical pressures on the court that to him it just seems like nothing special. That's the big difference between my game and his game.

And the patience that Rafa has is amazing. He never cracks. He will always grab you like a bulldog and always will have you -- he will always make you suffer on the court.

And it is amazing what he has built as a player. I mean, he was, like, you know, normal like all of us, and he managed to become this beast, this monster that he is today.

It is true. It is true. It's not that I'm saying something that -- that's how you feel when you play against him. So I need to work much more, as I said, and hopefully I can reach his level one day.

Q. I live in Greek town so thank you for having dinner there the other night and showing your love to the Greek community. You came into this tournament as the underdog and made it all the way to the finals. How are you feeling right now?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Tired. And I'm actually hungry for more. I want to do well in Cinci again there.

I'm looking forward to a match against Goffin. It's going to be a tough one for sure. He played me last week, so he's a bit more prepared more than before. And I'm going to have to get a good rest before that match, you know, like adjust to the new conditions there.

I'm really hungry for more. I believe I can achieve much more this year. My game is currently -- although I lost today, I feel like I can still beat good players.

So I really want to make more points this year and get the best out of me.

Q. First of all, happy birthday.

Q. Kind of looking back on the tournament, what can you take away from this tournament in terms of personal experience and how your game has improved?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don't know. I just -- I don't know. My game has -- yeah, it has improved for sure.

Well, I didn't have that much confidence before when I was playing hard courts. I never felt very familiar with the surface. I believe because of my experience as a young kid, I never played hard courts. So I never felt that comfortable because of the bounce of the ball, the speed of the ball.

So now I'm getting there. I feel like I can be an all-around player. I feel like I have all the strokes to do that.

And I can see that my tennis has changed, has changed from what it was before. And now I feel comfortable. And I can adjust fast from grass to hard, from hard to clay. It doesn't matter in which surface. I feel like I have an all-around game. So I feel comfortable playing on all the surfaces.

And thank God I managed to adjust to the hard courts pretty fast. My first tournament was Washington, and I made semis straight away.

I had vacation before, so I don't know. Maybe even vacation helped me be physically and mentally a bit more prepared, I would say.

Q. What was Rafa doing today that perhaps the other four top 10 players you beat earlier in the week were unable to do?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: He was just trying to make me tired, make me, like, give up on the rallies. And he was always there inside the court, made me run left to right.

And always knew that his physical is better than mine. And he knew that I was probably even tired from the previous matches that I had.

So I'm pretty sure his mindset today was to be patient and make him suffer on the court and make him very tired.

And I'm pretty sure that was the how he executed his plan. And I could feel it from -- I mean, his serve was okay, but his baseline game was amazing. Yeah.

Q. First of all, I want to wish you a happy birthday. Happy birthday from Russian speaking community here in Canada. They cheered for you obviously. And I wish that you will spend more and more years on the court improving your play. Everybody saw that the first set was very different from the second. It seemed to me that you woke up.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I didn't wake up.

Q. What happened in the second? What pushed you to play much better than the first?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I tried analyzing of what I was doing wrong. I tried remembering of how other opponents played against Rafa on hard courts, and that gave me an idea of how I should play against him. There were some guys that I was thinking of.

So I tried playing the way -- I've seen many videos of, you know, Rafa on hard court. I mean, many of them he won. Some of them he lost.

So it start working on the second set. I mean, I started executed this plan after I got broken in the second set. It was pretty late but still I was there. And he got a bit tighter at 5-4 when he was serving for the match.

On my serve, I start feeling more and more relaxed and comfortable with my service games. And he was struggling returning my balls back, and taking control of the rally.

So I even had a set point, actually. So I was very close to make something, and why not even win the third set? So it's a shame.

Q. What was the best part of the week for you or your favorite memory from this week?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Beating Novak Djokovic. Yeah. Very emotional.

Q. When you came to 5-4 in the second, at that moment you had made three points in the whole match on Rafa's serve and then you made four to break him. What happened? Because three points in the whole match and then four all in the same game. What was going through your head in that game?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I believe not so much in my head. I believe in mostly his head. As I said, he got tighter. He got tighter and his first serves didn't -- yeah, he didn't put any first serve in. And he always started the point with a second serve.

And I just used it and took control of the point, and that's how I broke him.

Q. Last year we watched Denis Shapovalov, the 18-year old, go all the way to the semifinals. This year you were the teenager making a great run and surprising everyone.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: But I didn't beat Rafa. He did beat Rafa.

Q. That's true. But you went to the finals so you got that. I was going to ask, were you watching -- were you paying attention to what Denis did last year, and how did it inspire you and how did it feel to be the one doing this?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It inspired me so much I was dreaming of being in his place. I remember I was watching from the television in Portoroz in the Challenger that I was playing that week, and I was watching his matches every single day.

So it was so inspirational to see him beat those guys. I mean, to me, it seemed like completely out of any world what he was doing on the court.

And now I understand that it is more simple and less complicated than it looks. So I just had to believe in myself and feel confident playing those guys.

So I see that as a very big thing. Because it looks like a big thing, but to me it seems like it's simple things that you need to do on the court, and just play the right angles and you play the right tactics and play the right way.

So I'm not surprised that I'm here in the finals. I mean, I did the job that I had to do.

Q. Going back to your vacation a bit. I think you went to an island all by yourself with no people around. You said that was the first time you have ever been totally alone and you described it as the best week of your life. Is it still the best week of your life or is this the best week of your life? Second of all, is it the nature of doing that, you know, can you explain on how that might have played such a key role in what you have done here?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Best week of my life. Best -- yeah. I don't know. I mean, it's two different things. One is vacation and one is at work. I don't know. Yeah, probably this I would say. I wish I had more of this every single week I played.

But what changed after the vacation? My body is relaxed. My muscles are -- I mean, I'm not tight anymore. I'm relaxed. My head is clear.

And I believe when you start something from zero again, it makes you refreshed and it makes you -- it makes you, like, reboot and it helps you also on your performance after.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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