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January 14, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. TSITSIPAS/M. Berrettini

6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You weren't too happy after the first round last year. How do you feel this year?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Obviously better. I'm happy -- it was not easy. Last year was very tough mentally to deal with that loss. I know Denis is a great player, but I didn't quite, yeah, I wouldn't say I played well in that match. Of course, yeah, it happens.

So, yeah, really happy that I managed to play somehow, not maybe play well, but find solutions in the second set. It was very hot. Conditions were rough for us to play and compete.

But, yeah, we both served very well. As I actually said in the interview before, the match is going to be decided in few points on our serves, maybe tiebreaks, which happened. We played two sets of tiebreaks. Points were very close. Everything was, yeah, very close.

I'm happy I stayed calm, stayed aggressive. Didn't think too much of what the score is. Focused more of me being aggressive, making him feel the pressure.

Q. You never lost your serve.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I'm happy with that, as well. I actually thought about it before.

Q. Only two breakpoints. You were always winning quite easily your serve, much more than he did. How do you explain it?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I've been working a lot on my serve, the placement of my serve, during the pre-season. We all know that serve is very important in men's tennis. It's a big weapon. You got to use it correct. You have the ball in your hands, you are in charge, you are in control of what's going to happen when you serve.

Really happy that I kind of transformed my serve, made it better, smarter. I actually mix it up a lot. There's a lot of variety now in my serve. I try to mix the second, as well, try to go to different places, make my opponent guess most of the time.

It's good that I've been serving so well today. Definitely it adds some confidence in my game, knowing that I can serve well in crucial moments. In general, I would say, yeah, really happy and felt really nice of the idea, knowing that I was actually serving that well.

Q. Do you think his return was so great?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Aggressive? Probably, yeah.

Q. Backhand, especially.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, yeah. I don't know. You know, I mean, I was struggling with it as well. It was not just him struggling with the return. The bounce of the ball was pretty high. It was sometimes uncomfortable to return. The surface was pretty fast, which gave less time than usual to both of us after the bounce of the ball.

I felt like the serve was going much faster than the week before in Sydney. We had less time to react on our return. I think, I mean, I'm pretty sure we're going to get used to that, playing a bit more, adjusting to the new conditions.

Q. After you played Hopman Cup, you practiced with Serena, after you played her in mixed doubles.

Q. How did that opportunity come about? What was it like?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was all arranged by Patrick. I mean, yeah, he invited me for a hit. I said yes. It was a great opportunity to practice with her.

She was practicing really good. I would probably say even better than some of the male players that I've been practicing with. She's not easy.

Yeah, it was a fun practice, fun hit. It was not too long. I enjoyed it. She's a very interesting person, very open-minded, I would say. She had lots of topics when we'd sit down to drink water or rehydrate ourselves. We talked about some interesting stuff. Yeah, it was a fun hit.

Q. What kind of topics was she interested in?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Tennis, the tour. Pretty much, you know, tennis stuff.

Q. Since you've come on tour, pretty much all of the top players have had serious injuries. Obviously the last was Murray. When you see that, does that make you weary of overplaying going into the rest of your career?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, yes, of course. Thought about it. Tennis, it can be a cruel sport for the body. There's a lot of pressure, a lot of running. It's really tough for the body to, I would say, deal with that day-to-day play. Yeah, it's a sport, not like other sports, every part of your body is working. It's really important to have a healthy career, a long career, with no injuries. That's number one priority for my career.

It also depends the style you're playing, the way you approach your thinking on the court. If you tend to play long rallies, I mean, aggressive baseliner, you're probably, yeah, going to have much more running to do than a serve and volleyer, someone who is an all-around player.

Yeah, I thought about it. I'm really sad to see how Murray felt after that press conference that he gave. I felt sorry for him. I respect him a lot. He's a really nice guy, I would say one of the nicest guys on tour.

I mean, I'm going to miss him. I would love to see him on the tour more, yeah.

Q. Can you talk a bit about the crowd support that you received today.

Q. Is that something you're expecting here in Melbourne with a large Greek community? What do you feel about it?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Sure, haven't been used to that atmosphere in a tennis court. Last year I played against Shapovalov. Was pretty much the same.

Yeah, they like noise when they're on the court. They try to give that energy to the player. I love the fans. I mean, they're a bit different than the other fans that I had in other tournaments.

I do appreciate how much they care and how much they respect and love what we're doing.

Q. What do you think makes Serena special as a person and sports figure?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Her attitude, for sure. She has a different approach than any I would say female player that I've met. She has this thing, you know, she's really -- how can I explain it?

She has a lot of confidence in herself. Like really she knows what she's doing on and off the court. She's a lovely person outside the court. Just this attitude that she has of hating to lose. That's what makes her a great champion. That's what I notice on the court. Even on the practice, she really wanted to do better than me. That was unusual to see something like this from a female player, yeah, when she's playing against a male player.

But I do respect a lot what she did in her career. She has something different than the other players.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about possible changes in the ATP, players not happy with Chris Kermode, wanting a change. What are your thoughts?

Q. About Kermode and the job he's doing, if there needs to be a big change in the ATP.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don't think there should be any change. I really like the way the tour operates, its president. He's a lovely guy. He's trying to do the best for our sport.

I do believe the tour is growing, things are changing for the good of the players. It's a slow change. It's going to take couple of years. But I'm really confident and positive on the outcome at the end.

Q. For the first time in about 40 years, two Italians are in the top 20, Fognini and Cecchinato. Do you think Berrettini has the quality and prospect to get to the same area or more? What are his weaknesses?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Did you say after 2000?

Q. First time in 40 years.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: 40 years, wow.

Q. Two in the top 20.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I believe Matteo has the game to be in the top 20. I've played a lot of young guys. His game is big. He has a huge serve, great forehand. His backhand is decent, it's good. I think he should be more aggressive sometimes from his backhand side.

Overall his game is really -- he doesn't have really big weaknesses in his game, let's say, I would call holes in his game. He's an all-around player, like to come to the net. He's tall, strong.

I would say he has the game for a top-20 player, and I've played a lot of them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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