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November 6, 2018
Fiera Milano, Italy
S. TSITSIPAS/J. Munar
4-3, 4-3, 3-4, 4-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel out there today with the format and everything? I know you played the XO last year, but this was actually a competitive match. How was it for you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Very stressful from the beginning of the match. Every point counts. You can get broken any moment. So there was a lot of stress, many tie-breaks.
One thing that I didn't like that much was the towel thing. I was always, you know, had to run for the towel, always had it in my mind when I was playing.
So the rest was pretty okay. Maybe a little bit the coaching on court I'm really not a big fan of, to be honest with you. I think the player should find solutions by himself.
Yeah, I'm not -- I don't really like to talk when I'm playing on the court.
So the rest was fine. Great performance. Going to try to work on my serve on my next match and a little bit, you know, grab my opportunity a little earlier because I didn't do so today.
Q. About the towel, when did you start getting the towels to play tennis? I mean, now, of course, in recent years you are a professional. But maybe when you were a kid nobody was giving you the towel. So do you remember when was the first time that someone was giving you the towel? What situation?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I think it was my first Masters as a junior, Tennis Europe. It was somewhere in Italy I played. It was Tennis Europe Masters. I don't remember where. Calabria or something? Is there a place like this?
Reggio Calabria, I think it was the Masters there. I think they had ball kids for the very first time. That's when.
It's a habit when you have this for almost your entire life.
Q. When was that?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was when I was 15 -- 14 years old. 14.
And basically when you play in high level, you have the ball kids give you the towels, so it's a bit unusual to not have that when you play a match.
I think having the towels whenever you need it, it's very helpful. It's one thing less that you have to think about. So I believe to be playing your best game you just don't need to think about whether you're going to take your towel now or later. You can just call the ball kid. I think the ball kid, it's their job to provide towels and balls for the players.
Nothing else. That's it. Pretty much it.
Q. Have you ever been a ball boy yourself?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I have been a ball boy.
Q. Where you were giving the towel?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, I did give a towel.
Q. Where? Which tournament?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: In my club tournament, local tournament. Greek championship, I guess.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, it was fun.
But I do understand that it's tough for them to do all of that, but somehow they need to function because they just make our job easier if they do this.
Q. Generally, how many towels do you carry on court with you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Today was, I think, the entire -- I was confused myself. I started with one side, then I completely forgot that I have to take it.
I was saying to one of the physios just before I walk in here that it would be very nice to have two boxes on each side with each player's name so you can just go there and leave your towel on one side and have another one on the other side. So like this, you are covered.
Because it was a bit strange. You know, I saw a towel, which I was not sure if it was mine or my opponent's towel from before. And I was always using new towels for almost every set.
Q. You were saying how every point counts with the shorter format and all of that. How did that factor into your mindset during the match?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I was just more prepared, more ready for what's going to happen. I was just every point -- as I said, every point counts. So I was more into the match. I was more focused, more in the moment.
And tie-break, obviously, is stressful. Anything can happen there, lucky shots, things that you don't expect.
So, yeah, having fast sets like that, it is just very stressful in my opinion, but somehow you need to -- I believe if you start playing more and more with these rules, then it's just a matter of time to get used to it.
Q. Was there anything that you thought worked particularly well of the new format?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: For me or the opponent?
Q. For the event just that you responded well to.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Four games, I guess it was okay. I believe a tie-break is a scoring format where the more experienced, the more calm, the more wise player usually wins the tie-breaks. So also let's not forget luck involved as well.
So, yeah, I was very -- I mean, I was very satisfied that I won the first tie-breaks because it showed good manners from me, I guess. Obviously, I was just there and taking advantage of my opportunities.
The scoring system was fine. Deuce was a bit stressful to be honest with you. Just, you know, one lucky return, one good shot just can make a difference.
So deuce, yeah, probably I wouldn't -- if this rule would be part of the future, let's say, I would just take it away. I would probably with an ad scoring and forget deciding point.
And the rest were pretty much fine. The lets were okay. The lets I think are -- it has to be done because I've had issues in the past where I was playing without referees and the opponents would -- I wouldn't say cheat, but they were, yeah, lets on purpose. So I think that helps on that side. Just makes things the way, you know, it should be: fair.
And I also had issues in with actually even referees that sometimes wouldn't call lets or they would call lets that were not lets. So I think it's a good rule.
Which other rules do we have? No first serve? (Smiling.)
Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Q. Can I ask how do you find -- is it the familiarity or the lack of familiarity that makes it so stressful for you? Because I can't imagine that you come to a press conference and think you would spend so much time talking about towels.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I agree. (Smiling.)
Well, it's stressful because one break and basically give the set to the opponent. And you need to be 100% in the match, not think about anything else.
And also not having the -- not having enough time to adapt to these new rules, new scoring format. When new things happening, it's always stressful. You don't know what to expect. And that was my first official match that I played with that scoring system.
And also the no deuce, no advantage rule also is very stressful because you know that even, let's say, you're 40-30 up, you still need to be there. You know, you don't want to get to the point where you have to play deciding point. That's something definitely that I don't like.
Q. And also with the crowd, the activity that's going on around the court throughout the points and everything, do you notice that? Are you completely focused in the game or do you feel that whole atmosphere and feel a change in what you would normally experience?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I think I was fine with the crowd. There was not that much movement when we played.
Yeah, adapt pretty fast to it. I think I got used to that because I played a practice set the other day and there was a free-movement policy when we practiced. So I think that's something that we can adapt pretty fast to.
Q. What's it like having all those kids around? Because it's amazing to see so many children.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It's definitely fun. It's Next Gen watching us play.
I remember myself being that kid that's watching the older guys play. So yeah, I love those kids. They just make tennis more fun and entertaining.
Q. You said before that you were not so much in favor of having a coach on court. What your father thinks?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Probably the opposite. (Smiling.)
Q. That's why I'm asking you. Did you talk with him about it?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I'll tell you something. I don't really like talking and having discussions about my game. I want to focus more on what I have to do better to break my opponent or win the next game.
When I talk too much and analyze the game way too much before the game starts, I don't really -- I don't know. I'm just a guy with --
Q. More instinctive?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: -- with few words. I don't really like to -- maybe after the match we can discuss what I did wrong or right, but not during the match. I think that's a bit more stress or pressure.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports