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August 25, 2020

Stefanos Tsitsipas

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Stefanos reaches his sixth career ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal. He improves to 15-5 in the 2020 season.

Questions, please.

Q. Obviously today was about sort of winning the big points. You got off to a good start in both of the tiebreakers. How happy were you you were able to maintain your focus? Are you expecting a similar match tomorrow against someone to shares characteristics with John?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Let me start by saying it was a very difficult, indeed, match. My level of focus and attention had to be there all the time.

John is a very unpredictable player. He can be very aggressive. Sometimes if you don't play with first serves, it can get quite dangerous with him. I think being aggressive and pressing all the time was something very important today. Even though I served lots of second serves towards the end of the match, I still managed to maintain that aggressivity.

I did felt very comfortable. Didn't feel any nerves. Even when it came to the tiebreak, I felt very comfortable, decisive of the tactics I wanted to follow. Overall it was a great performance. I think I can still improve a few things in tomorrow's match. Not putting any pressure on me, but I think I can be even more aggressive and play with higher percentages.

Tomorrow's opponent, I expect a difficult fight, a difficult battle. I think he has played John a few times, and he holds a positive record against him, so I'm expecting better. I feel like there's nothing wrong to expect better tomorrow. I just need to be very well-prepared for that one.

I'm sure there are going to be more rallies from the baseline, and the serve is going to be more difficult to return. I have to keep my focus at even higher levels than before.

Q. How happy are you in general in the first tournament back to be playing as well as you are?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It's great being back on court. I really feel the joy of being able to compete again and play against the rest of the ATP players. It's good to be back in my natural habitance [sic], being able to compete at such a high level, strive for so much. It's the adrenaline, the everyday routine that fulfills me, makes me feel like I compete for something important. I'm adding every single day something that is going to be remembered.

It is great to be back on court, even without fans. I still feel the joy and the happiness of me being able to play. It is there. I'm glad that I feel this way. I'm glad that I'm able to bring my best even though we are not able to play in front of a crowd.

Q. Did the rain delay help or hinder you? Did it help you reset?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It didn't really affect me much. I managed to readjust my focus when I entered the match again. Once I was off, I was off. I was having fun, sharing some laughs with my team, trying to relax as much as possible before entering the match, and trying to forget about the rain delay in general.

Coming back in that match, I was able to maintain the focus that I previously started with. I think it is really important to keep pushing yourself, no matter what. Even if you are a set up, even if you are leading in the score, it's always important to feel more pumped than in the games before. That makes me play the best. That also adds hunger and willingness to want to do better.

I'm a player who is very competitive. I like the competition. I'm really dying for it.

Q. After facing such a powerful serve, does that serve as a good prep for facing someone like Reilly Opelka tomorrow?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It is definitely a very good lesson. I can learn a lot from that.

I'm sure there is better than this, so I am mentally prepared for it. I'm not saying that I'm going to be able to be the same consistent, but I'm going to try to bring the best out of it tomorrow.

I've played Reilly when I played juniors. Of course, he has improved much more than back then. He has added a lot to his game. He's very aggressive. He has a very different, I would say, game when it comes to tall players like him. He knows what he's doing from the baseline. He has a very solid game. He's aggressive at the same time.

Probably, of course, movement is not the best. I'm sure he has worked a lot to cover that up. For me, it's all about, yeah, focusing on what I'm doing, not what's happening on the other side of the court. It always brings the best out of my game, my performance.

Q. You're facing one huge server after another. Talk about what's it like to return these serves? What is the key thing to deal with that power in a split second?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: The question remains: Am I going to make it to the record books for playing the tallest players on the ATP consecutive, one after the other (laughter)? I have to check it out. I don't think it has ever happened before.

Obviously I'm not experienced when I first played Isner. I was like, Wow, this is the best experience you can ever get. But more you mature, the more you grow up, the more you are on the tour against these players, you embrace it. You don't think about it too much. You know where your game stands, what their power is, what kind of strengths they share.

I kind of have completely forgotten about how strong his serves are. Going in, I know it's not going to be easy to break them. Judging by experience, I've been able to obviously fail many times before succeeding.

It is important to have, yeah, matches like this so you can constantly learn and understand how you can break these players. It's not going to come the first time. You have to work for it and figure it out when you're out on the court.

It's a very mental game, as well.

Q. What is the best first serve and the best second serve you have faced?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I've had a lot of trouble returning Milos Raonic's serve at the Australian Open. I mean, it was very well deserved from his side because he played unbelievable that day. I was very upset I wasn't able to find solutions that day. His serve was really a weapon, caused a lot of damage.

I would probably say either John Isner or Milos Raonic. It also depends on the day. I've played Isner at the Wimbledon Championships a few years ago. It was very incredible the way he served that day. I don't know.

I'm sure Pete Sampras had a great second serve. He would hit aces with it from time to time. I've not played him. I can't really judge or tell. I'm probably going for John Isner's first serve and Milos Raonic's second serve.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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