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May 26, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Paris, France

S. TSITSIPAS/M. Marterer

6-2, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was quite a solid performance for a first round. It's never easy to start a Grand Slam. Are you satisfied how you coped with it?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, very satisfied. I was playing really well the first two sets of the match. Better than I thought I would.

Third set was tricky. I felt like he started pressing more, started going for his shots more, faster, stronger. It went his way, I was couple times Love-30 on his serve. I can say he played pretty well on these moments.

Yeah, stayed mentally strong and closed the tiebreak at the end. Then didn't break, didn't break, and that helped me make my job easier and get the match straight in three straight sets, which is good to start a tournament like this.

Q. I listened to a podcast today, and they were podcasting while you were practicing yesterday. Apparently you weren't very happy, you weren't playing very well. Two days ago, sorry. Is there a relationship between how you practice and how you play? Maybe it's better not to practice so well and then you play better?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Sometimes I get frustrated during practice because I know that if I, like, the way, the way I will be practicing is actually going to reflect to my game when I'm on the tennis court playing my match. So if I manage to keep the focus levels and if I manage to stay concentrated and do what I have to do the right way, then I have more chances on doing that well when I'm on the match playing the match.

I know it sounds a bit strange, but that's how I think it is. That's how it works for me. Sometimes I feel I'm too defensive. I'm a big guy, have big shots, and once I get into the mindset where I have to press and play at the same time safe, I think I can play really well.

In practice I'm just sometimes, yeah, I get frustrated, I do stupid mistakes that I normally wouldn't do. Sometimes also the thing that's missing in practice is the adrenaline and the rush you have when you're playing on the tennis court a match. So that's missing and sometimes that might cause this drops during the practice.

Q. Forgive me for not knowing, but when you were learning to play tennis, how much clay court tennis did you play as opposed to hard court? And do you have an opinion, for one, learning to play the game, is it best to start on clay or start on hard?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I personally think that starting on clay is the best thing if you have kids. Learning tennis on clay is very good for your body, for your development. It's a way to learn how to slide, basically learn the basics of tennis. Then you can move to hard. That's my personal opinion.

I probably practiced, I don't know, I might be wrong, I might not be, that might not be accurate, but I practiced since the age of 6 up to the age of 14 on clay all my life. Probably more than Rafa (laughter).

Not that I'm close to what he has achieved, but you get the idea. I have been playing there my entire life before I moved to the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy where actually I combined hard and clay together.

Q. Off the court it looks like you surround yourself with lots of positive energy. You have a great relationship with your fans. You like to interact with them on social media and have lots of fun. Does that affect how you play on the court?

Q. In terms of having fun and having a sense of freedom.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yep. It is. I feel a sense of freedom, knowing that if things don't go well on my main occupation, I have an alternative. I have something else to take care of and something else to think of. So I think it helps to kind of free your mind and be a little bit more optimistic, I would say.

Q. On social media also you said something about having a secret that would be out soon. How soon? When? When should we expect the secret?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Very soon, actually.

Q. Very soon?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Very soon. I'm still working on it. It's developing. Construction (smiling).

Q. Can you describe your mind, the intensity, when you're playing Roger and Rafa? Is there any difference? Just how far more into a match are you when you play those two guys?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I know that with them I have to be twice more focused and not give points away.

They control the court so well. They know what they're doing. They know where they're playing, so everything is actually counted on these small details.

I have seen the difference when I play the rest of the guys and them. They don't overplay, don't do crazy things. But they play so right, and they always actually are confident with themselves, with anything they are doing. I think that's the difference that I have seen.

Q. Your eighth main draw of a Grand Slam. Do you feel like you have adapted to that and you're coping with all the pressure? You've gone over the early stages and early problems and that?

Q. In dealing with playing major tennis.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Ah, yeah. I had a little bit of pressure and stress coming in that match. I wouldn't hide it. When I enter the court, I always say to myself that if I manage to survive that match and if I manage to do well on that match -- every match that I play I have this mindset that if I win it, it's the best win of my career.

So that's the way I'm thinking, because I know that every opponent can be dangerous. Every opponent can cause damage. To me, every win is the best win of my career (smiling).

Q. Did you wind up watching Eurovision in the end?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I had dinner that night, and, no. Netherlands, they won it.

Q. Nadal and Djokovic are big favorites here perhaps, but is it genuinely possible in your mind that you could win these two weeks?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I have to take it match by match. If I think too far, things might turn out to go reverse and go the other way around.

So I don't want to think that far. Obviously I want to stay here as long as possible, because the vibe of this tournament is nice. So let's just take it step by step.

Q. Is that different here to the other Grand Slams for you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, it is different.

Q. Because?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, I would say that there is less traffic in Melbourne than here. I will have to admit that. I don't know. But I would say that Melbourne and Wimbledon are the quietest, most -- how can I say it? There is not too much noise going on.

French Open and US Open are kind of the noisy ones, my opinion. Obviously there is a lot of attention on Wimbledon because that's the most historical tournament ever.

So I like Roland Garros because it's the only Grand Slam on clay, and as we discussed about it earlier, I grew up playing on clay. I love the crowd. They are very respectful. Well, obviously they're going to support the French guys if I play the French guys. Yeah, the clay makes it very special.

And also, I would say that after Wimbledon, Roland Garros is probably one of my favorites. My dream is to win it one day because of the history and because of the tradition of the clay and the, I mean, tennis in general.

Q. A tennis career is shaped by many decisions, many choices. If you had to say the one or two most important or most critical decisions that you have made in your still-young career, what would those one or two be?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Wow, that's a very good question. Decisions. Me personally or someone else for me?

Q. You.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Wow. I don't know. Being mentally prepared to leave my home at the age of 12 and sacrifice my life in Greece, sacrifice my friends, my daily routines there, my school, whatever, everything, and focus and have a dream of maybe one day making it. That was a big sacrifice.

It was not just me but also my dad who took the decision, together with me, because without me, I mean, what can you do? Yeah, this would be the first one.

And the second one would be the decision to say yes and make Mouratoglou Tennis Academy my base, my new home. And my parents, I don't know, could have been stubborn or would think that they would do everything on their own and say no. I'm really glad they said yes.

And Mouratoglou Tennis Academy became my first big, my first home that provided me with everything that I needed to make it in tennis.

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