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January 15, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: You've been in Australia for more than a couple weeks now. How is the preparation going for the first Grand Slam of the year?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Feeling good with my arm, which is very nice to see. Have recovered very close to 100%. My preparation is going well. I have been practicing with plenty of good players the last couple of days. The weather has been very nice, which helps a lot heading into the Australian Open.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you go best-of-five sets, is the elbow something you're going to have to see how it goes?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I have faith that it's good enough for me to compete at best-of-five sets.

Q. I read some comments attributed to you about Novak and the vaccination situation. Do you support his decision not to be vaccinated? I couldn't understand the context of what it was.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I'm here to talk about tennis, not Novak Djokovic. We may proceed, please.

Q. It's been three years since your breakthrough here. How do you feel in your career? Do you still feel young? Experienced?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, it's funny you say. I think I'm relatively young to the tour. But I was talking to Feliciano Lopez a few months ago. He thinks that I've been on the tour for 8, 10 years. He has lost track of time completely (smiling). Which in a way it's good because he's been around for a long time.

I feel like I had few good years on the tour, but I'm kind of in the beginning of it. I haven't been around as much as Mr. Zverev, who started since he was 12 on the tour (smiling), but I'm catching up.

Q. It's been announced today that Netflix is going to be doing a documentary. How do you feel about that? Would you like to be involved? How do you think it could work in tennis?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, I was the first person to know about that before any of you. I'm very privileged to be in it. I've watched their previous TV show which was "Drive to Survive." I instantly became a huge fan of F1. I'm extremely happy they're bringing this to tennis and making something similar in that sense.

Q. Novak is hovering over the whole tournament. Do you feel like it's taken the spotlight away or have you been able to hone in on the tennis?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, I won't lie. It has been pretty much on every news outlet the last couple of weeks. It has received a lot of attention. A lot of people are obviously talking about it. That's why I'm here to talk about tennis.

It has received a lot of attention, as I said. Not enough tennis has been talked about in the last couple of weeks, which is a shame.

Q. Your first-round opponent, what are your expectations heading into this, into the tournament overall? You're pitched as one of the potential contenders to take the next step.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: We were training buddies with Mikael last year here when there were different circumstances coming into the 2021 Australian Open.

We have played together in juniors for many, many years, so we know each other since the age of 10. He's someone that I've played a few times, someone that has a very solid game in terms of putting a lot of balls back into the court, very good movement on the court.

I'm just going to have to approach this match carefully, the way I always do.

Q. On the Netflix documentary, was it an easy decision for you to sign up? Were there any doubts?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Why would there be any doubts? It's one of the best shows out there. People know what they're doing.

Q. You spoke about how good you're feeling. What has your performance at the majors when you've been at your best done for your confidence at these lengthy tournaments?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Can you please repeat the question?

Q. When you've been at your best at the majors, what has that done for your confidence for future majors such as the one you're starting now?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, having a strong start has contributed a lot to my confidence, kind of not wasting a lot of time on court playing long matches for sure is an energy saver.

We're basically going in for a marathon and we have to sleep well, we have to eat well. These are all important things when you approach a Grand Slam.

My tactics remain the same. But I'm really going for the long run in every single one of them. There is kind of a different mental approach to it because you might be two sets to love up but the match isn't over yet.

The confidence is there. The confidence kicks in on week two. That's where you can evaluate and move on.

Q. Back to the documentary. Did you speak to anyone in F1, Max Verstappen, about being part of "Drive to Survive," what that was like?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I didn't have the opportunity to talk to Max because he was a busy man after his victory against Lewis in that race. Everyone was on top of him, wanted his attention. I didn't want to interfere.

I feel pretty lucky because I might make it to "Drive to Survive" before I make it to play to survive (smiling). The last episode of the season four, I kind of forgot how many seasons there are so far, on the last race of 2021, I might be in it.

Q. Lots of the best players always say the first round is the most difficult. I think it's more mentally to get into the game, ease into the tournament. Do you feel the same thing?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I do indeed feel the same way. The first rounds can be the most challenging ones. Getting started at whatever you do, you don't know what you're about to expect. Everyone has trained for almost two months prior to the Australian Open. They've done pre-season training, fitness training. There has been kind of a lot of change. Most of them I would hope are aiming for a change in their games.

It is indeed a very challenging thing to bring your best on the first round. Makes it for one of the most difficult rounds in a Grand Slam, for sure.

Q. The last couple of months there have been a lot of off-court stories in the world of tennis, for example the mental health stories with Naomi Osaka, the Peng Shuai story, now what is going on with Novak Djokovic. You tend to be also from time to time very philosophical and outspoken. Do you think it's a good thing that in the world of tennis there is so much political stories going on and off-court stories or do you think it would be better if in the long-term everyone would step back and focus on playing tennis?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Look, stories like this matter. It's important that they are exposed because it shows that as humans we're not imperfect. We all struggle with our own things in life.

It's quite inspiring for me to be listening to the stories. For sure tennis needs more than tennis from time to time. But when it becomes too much, it becomes kind of overwhelming, not as interesting anymore.

Tennis does need people to come out and express their opinions, express their ideas about anything they have.

I personally have a lot of stories to share that are outside the tennis court. I read some of the stories of Nick Kyrgios recently, of course Naomi Osaka. It's elevating and for sure it gives another perspective of our sport, which is crucial.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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