February 18, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. TSITSIPAS/R. Nadal
3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Huge win. How do you compare it, for instance, to when you beat Roger on this same court two years ago?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It brings back really good emotions and feelings. Definitely, you know, I feel something extra, an extra connection with this court, with Rod Laver.
I have had great moments, moments that just elevated me and moments that I will never forget. Rod Laver is one of my favorite arenas, courts. It's an amazing place to play tennis.
Every single year that I get to play in this court keeps getting better and better, and I'm glad that I get opportunity to play such beautiful courts with crowd that understands about tennis, and they bring in the atmosphere.
Q. Can you tell us about what you were feeling like, sharing it with your dad, those emotions? Can you talk us through them.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, there weren't really many things that were going through my head. I was just enjoying the moment, and I wasn't really thinking of, I don't know, the future. There wasn't really much to think of. What happened out on the court was spectacular by itself. Nothing really to describe it.
You know, did the hard yakkas, as they say in Australia, I wasn't being a bludger, so it was going pretty well.
Q. Those are the moments you almost play tennis for, to share it with the people you love?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, it was very special moment to share with my dad. Not just with my dad, with my entire team.
Moments like this haven't happened a lot in my career, and the fact that I was able to come back the way I did and the way I fought against such a top, respected player like Rafa was something extra, something I have never felt before. It was a first-timer. And to be able to just walk up to my team and hug them and share that little moment of appreciation and solidarity, it was epic.
It was everything I ever dreamed of, and I'm glad that I am where I am today. There is obviously light ahead at the end of the tunnel, and there is plenty more to go.
Q. He was playing sort of flawless tennis through three sets. I don't think you had a breakpoint. And then he messes up the two overheads and you won the breaker. You seemed to come alive. Were you thinking, just hang around, and eventually his level may drop a little bit and yours might pick up? What was your approach in that, as soon as you had life in that fourth set?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: The thing is that I wasn't really thinking about a lot of things. Nothing was going through my head. I was so much -- how would I describe myself? Nirvana. Just, like, there. Playing, not thinking.
I was thinking a little bit, but I was mainly focused on each single serve, each single shot. I think at the very third set I changed few things. I changed my patterns. I maybe took a little bit more time. I think that helped. I wanted to stay in the court a bit longer.
These things kept adding up. I think the change the pace, the rhythm, things like this. I may have put my brain a little bit, I brainstormed and I said, What is going wrong, why is it not working my way?
But then it just took off by itself. I didn't really have too much to think of. I think that's the way I feel it. I just played more flawless. I really didn't care, honestly.
I played with no care, and that increased the level of tennis that I put out there.
Q. You definitely cut the errors from second part of the match. That was a different approach, because he got you here and there. I wonder, is it mentally -- he didn't lose the match since Paris and here. To beat Nadal you have to go for the winners. How much does support you and help you, Patrick Mouratoglou in that kind of situation?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: We are a team. We discuss a lot about tennis. We love talking about tennis.
Going into that match it was a lot of preparation and a lot of discussion and talk of the tactics that I need to follow and just overall, like, the way I should approach and play this match.
Patrick has a lot of experience in tennis. He has been around for a very long time. Has worked with a lot of players. I'm very happy that he's part of my team. I'm very happy that he's there, not just supporting me but also guiding me.
I feel huge connection with him. He's a great guy on and off the court. He's kind of a guru of tennis, I think. I'm lucky to have one of them in part of my team.
He analyzes. He sees the game very clearly. He has helped a lot with my game. And also Kerei Abakar, who's my coach in the academy, who doesn't happen to be here but he's watching and helping me get to where I want one day.
We have a very good team. We are very loyal to one another and I think it's also important that we love one another, which puts a bit of extra affection.
Q. After such an emotional match that's gone so long, how do you use that to go ahead and prepare for the next round against Daniil Medvedev?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, I can tell you that I have played a lot of tennis today, that's for sure. I have played a fair amount.
So I can see that maybe as an opportunity that I, you know, I got the opportunity to play longer, feel the court, understand the environment that I'm in.
So that could probably be seen as something positive. On the other hand, you know, yeah, okay, I might have spent a bit more time on the court, put my body in more stress and difficult tasks to complete, but overall I feel pretty well.
I don't feel completely exhausted. I think with experience I have realized how to preserve my energy and when I really have to put in the hard work in the match.
So Medvedev is going to be difficult task. I played him last year at the Nitto. It was a good match from my side. He's in very good shape, playing good tennis, playing accurate, playing simple.
Might have said in the past that he plays boring, but I don't really think he plays boring. He just plays extremely smart and outplays you. He's somebody I really need to be careful with and just take my chances and press. That would be very important.
Q. What are your thoughts about the way Novak Djokovic has used his love of this court to so dominate the Australian Open? What have you learned, if anything, from his experiences that you have seen?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, he's an amazing fighter. He had great victories in this court. I have watched many of his matches when I was younger, not yet in the tour.
I remember an epic battle he had against Stan Wawrinka which was something to remember. I loved this match.
He had great matches on Rod Laver, and he has been dominating. He has been winning here in Australia for many years. I much respect what he does, and his consistency in Aussie soil. He seems to be loving playing here. It's his vibe.
Q. You said a bit earlier that you almost didn't care. You were playing like not overthinking. How do you reach that state? Because it's not an easy state to be in, especially against someone like Rafa. So how do you explain being able to be in that state?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, it would be weird if I was stressed and pissed at myself after being 2-Love down, I think. It wouldn't really make much sense. I brought myself to that situation. So had to stay relaxed, had to stay present but relaxed, and had to adjust few things. See what doesn't work.
I don't know why I just, I woke up today and I felt really relaxed and I just felt like things are going to be, to go my way.
I don't know how to explain it. I was very serene during the match, regardless if it was the first set or the fifth one.
Maybe, I don't know, the absence of the crowd kept me like this. I'm not even sure. I'm trying to analyze it myself, but I'm very proud the attitude that I showed.
I think honestly I wasn't expecting too much, and I wasn't expecting too less, and that led to this serenity that you saw on the court.
And it's a good example. I think it's good for me to be that way. Nothing can go wrong. I think there is only benefits and positives out of it.
It's a sign of maturity and sign of strength, I think, as well.
Q. I wanted to know whether your match against Novak in Paris played a role, do you think, today at all? Have you thought back to that semifinal comeback at Roland Garros?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It might have passed in my mind, but, like, the semifinal of the French Open was completely different of that match today.
We are talking about playing a lefty who has a completely different style and completely different fighting spirit.
There were some -- that fifth set against Novak, I have spoken about it. My body, it cracked up. I couldn't move on the court. So I wouldn't really consider it as a fifth set. He just knocked me out. He didn't give me opportunity to play fifth set, which is good for him. He managed to push me to the limits, and, yeah, couldn't finish the match. But I finished it.
Today was a bit different. I was feeling much better physically, and I think there is a little bit to learn from that match that I played at the Roland Garros.
I take an experience, and I think if I'm smart enough, I'm gonna take it and take those lessons and I will apply them to the future.
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