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Quote of the Day: Stefanos Tsitsipas salutes “the greatest ever" after Australian Open final
Despite his visible disappointment, the 24-year-old made sure to give 10-time champion Djokovic his flowers during the trophy ceremony.
Published Jan 29, 2023
WATCH: Novak Djokovic defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2023 Australian Open final
Stefanos Tsitsipas says he is departing Melbourne with his head held high, after reaching his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open.
The Greek player was “dreaming about the trophy,” and even lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in his sleep the night before. But on Sunday evening, a scene straight out of his nightmares played out as Novak Djokvoic charged to a 10th victory in Melbourne—and an Open Era record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title.
Here’s how Tsitsipas described the experience, after playing for just under three hours on Rod Laver Arena:
“I did everything possible in order to get a good match against him,” the No. 3 seed told press. “My team worked exceptionally [hard] to give me the best way that I can approach this, especially today.
“There is nothing that I didn't use to my advantage. There's nothing that I could have extracted more for today. I did everything possible.”
Tsitsipas was defeated 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), his second Grand Slam final defeat to Djokovic. But despite his clearly visible disappointment, the 24-year-old made sure to give the champion his flowers during the trophy ceremony:
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Novak, I don’t know what to say. I think it speaks for itself, what you have achieved so far. It’s all in the numbers. Congratulations... (applause)
It’s been an unbelievable journey for you, and I admire what you’ve done for our sport. I think you make me a better player when I’m on the court, so thank you.
He’s one of the greatest in our sport. And, I think… he’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet.
I haven’t done this, but I’d like to thank you for pushing our sport so far. I think it deserves a player like you, someone who pushes everyone—every single player, every individual that’s involved in the sport—to the max. (applause)
The defeat still held an extra sting for Tsitsipas, who would have become not just Greece’s first Grand Slam champion with the win, but also the ATP Tour’s new world No. 1—a spot now claimed by Djokovic.
Tsitsipas, who will return to his previous career-high No. 3 ranking on Monday, has come agonizingly close to reaching the top ranking and winning big titles in the past. But while Tsitsipas says that “No. 1 is on [his] mind,” all the heartbreak means it will be even more sweet if and when he finally achieves the milestone.
“It's my time to aim for something like this. I don't see any reason to be lowering my expectations or my goals,” he said. “I am born a champion. I can feel it in my blood. I can feel it as a competitive kid that I was when I was young. It's something that is within me.
“I want to harvest that, make it bloom, make it even stronger and fonder, work hard towards those goals.
“It's that beautiful number, the number '1', that will make things extremely emotional when converting that.”