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November 7, 2018

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Fiera Milano, Italy


4-3, 4-3, 4-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. I just saw you walking across looking very happy, bouncy, and confident. Was it a good day for you? You seem far less stressed today?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was a great day. I won two of the tie-breaks that I played in my match, which is great. To get 2-Love lead, which also is great, starting very well, very strong in the match.

And I'm very satisfied with my performance. I was playing aggressive tennis, coming to the net, playing an all-around game, and being unpredictable, which helped a lot.

And I was serving pretty well I could say. I was making him confused. He confused in a way that I was always serving to the opposite direction of where he would expect my ball to come.

And, yeah, used my forehand a lot. Had a lot of winners from my forehand side.

Just a great day at the office, yeah.

Q. So would you say it was the most enjoyable game that you've had for a while?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, for sure. Very, very happy that I got this win in three sets and not having to battle and struggle in four or five sets. That shows professionalism and good discipline from my side.

So it's always good to -- and I know Frances. I've played many times against him. I know he's a tough player. I know he can be unpredictable himself, that he can play great tennis. He had some good wins this year.

So, yeah, this three-set win was very important for me.

Q. Just describe this year in general. I mean, you go from 91 at the start of the year to you're now 15. You win your first title. You have that run in Washington and Toronto. Are you surprised at where you're at right now? Did you think it would come this quickly to you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, for sure, I've been -- I climbed how many spots was that? 85? No. More.

Q. 91 at the start of the year and I think you're 15 now.
Q. 76.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: 76, yeah. Wow, yeah. That's impressive to be honest.

I think the tournaments that I played well, Barcelona, Toronto, and Stockholm, I believe they helped a lot, also the fourth round that I played in Wimbledon. All those points, if you just count them and put them together, they give you a pretty good ranking.

So I'm going to try to concentrate next year knowing that these big tournaments give you a lot of points and can just change your entire career in a way that you just high ranked and you can be seeded in most of the Grand Slams and be the favorite in most of the tournaments you play.

2019 is going to be -- because I'm talking about the future now, which I shouldn't be. But, yeah, I learned a lot of things in 2018, which I believe will help me a lot to play even better in 2019. Yeah, for sure experience and everything.

But let's talk about 2018. Yeah, great, great year. Much more -- I just started the year more experienced, knew what I was doing, knew my opponents a bit better because I played the year before. I got some wins on the ATP World Tour. And that confidence was even higher in the next year.

Q. You were talking about your forehand and a lot of guys you find might have a big inside-out forehand a lot of the time. But I think one of your bigger weapons is your inside-in forehand. What does that shot mean to you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, inside-in, inside-out, it's all the same. It's basically what you feel more comfortable with. At the moment, I feel more comfortable with my inside-in. Sometimes I feel playing inside-out a bit more.

It's also from the position of your opponent. If you see your opponent is covering his forehand side more, that's how you decide where you're going to go.

But my forehand, as I said, is a big weapon. And, yeah, I choose most of the time inside-in because I just can still play with my forehand. If I go inside-out, probably can find the angle a big better. And obviously down the line is the toughest shot to play that -- when I open the court from the inside out.

But inside-in has been -- yeah, I totally agree with you -- my biggest weapon, and I have been using it very precisely, and I've been playing lots of winners on that side.

Q. So it's sort of when you're in the backhand corner just to give yourself the best chance to hit your forehand on the best ball?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, yeah, because of that. Because inside-in just -- most of the players play cross-court forehand if you just go inside-in, and then you can take the ball maybe early if his next shot is not deep enough. You can approach, play down-the-line shot, come to the net, build the point with your forehand again.

And as I said, depends on how you feel that day. And who you're playing as well. You play a lefty, you go inside-in.

Q. It seems like your level of consistency in the big points is the reason why you won tonight. I mean, you were very close in the first two sets and then you find a way in the big moments to win, and it seems like it's the biggest difference between you and the other players here. I mean, do you think that's probably the most important thing, the biggest improvement you made this year? Your level on the big points?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I play big on big points. Play with confidence. Play with first serves and play aggressive. These are the four -- three keys on winning those points.

And playing fearless tennis. Not think too much when you do something. When I start thinking too much on these points, I usually lose those points.

So I try to have a high first-serve percentage, get the first shot with my forehand, and press as much as I can.

Q. You've known a lot of these players quite a long time. Do you have many friendships in amongst this Next Gen collection?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I do have a few friends. Pretty good friends with Frances. He's a funny guy.

Who else? I mean, with the Next Gen players, we know each other pretty well. We're not, like, friends go out dinner and have lunch together. But all of them -- most of them are nice guys.

Hubert Hurkacz is also a very humble, very down-to-earth kid. Rublev as well. Most of the guys are, yeah, pretty much the same.

Q. Who do you share the locker room with?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: At the moment I'm with Hurkacz, yeah. Yesterday, I was with Tiafoe, but I guess they switched it because of the -- (smiling).

Q. Did you happen to see the Caruana diving volley earlier on?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Oh, that was amazing.

Q. How was it compared to -- because you had a couple of those this year.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Mine was better (smiling).

Q. The Washington one or the Wimbledon one?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Oh, okay. Tough question. I would say Wimbledon. Wimbledon was nuts. I mean, I was just flying on the court when I did this.

But Caruana's was actually impressive as well. I don't know if he decided to do this shot because he thought of me at that moment (smiling).

But I was actually -- this shot saved him in a way. It was 7-All in tie-break?

Q. I think it was?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was very tight. And then he lost his volley, which I was, like, Okay, you do this shot and how do you miss the next one?

Q. Does it sort of show that this next generation of players -- I won't say take more risks but going for shots like that? You see more of the younger players putting their bodies out on the line than maybe some of the older players were even now?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Does this reflect to the diving shot?

Q. Yeah. It just seems like guys are going for it a little bit extra more, like, every single point.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Everybody wants to win. Don't forget.

Q. Yeah.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, for sure. I think everybody's diving now because of me. I just started. I just reminded them of the old good times, Boris Becker and stuff. So they're all into it.

Diving is -- it can save you. Because sometimes the ball is too far or your opponent's shot is way too good and the only -- let's say the only option that you have, the only option that's left is dive for the ball.

And, I mean, this specific shot, this specific actually saved me at Wimbledon. I managed to hold and hold my serve. It was advantage. I dove, yeah, on that shot, and I won the game. You never know what would happen if I wouldn't dive. It would go back to 40-All maybe, you know.

And then he was just mentally destroyed. I played Donaldson in that match. I broke him -- after that shot, I broke him and then hold and then won the match.

Yeah, so I guess it has something like -- it's connected with the psychology of your opponent as well. You never know.

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