Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Stefanos Tsitsipas survives a three-set battle against Matthew Ebden in the first round of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You looked exhausted last night understandably. Were you feeling better today?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I did feel better. I feel like everything was going up to my game plan. I didn’t feel any pressure – less pressure today than the other day. Didn’t feel that stress when I was playing. That’s why I played so free and so relaxed, was always motivated. Even when I was a break up, I always wanted more and more. Yeah, I believe being relaxed, kind of understanding the different conditions here in the first match I had, was close to have troubles, experiencing that sort of thing in the first round, trying to bring it in on my next match, helped me play so well today.
Q. Do you find any difference playing not the show court, but on an outside court, the conditions?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I think this court, the speed of today’s court, was much faster. The court is much faster than the center court. That’s how I felt. It’s sliding a bit more. Bounce was pretty low, I can say. Not that bouncy. I don’t know, it fitted my game today. I was aggressive, coming to the net a lot. I think that helped with the speed of the court.
Q. Is that common?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, it is common. I was actually expecting it to be faster, to be honest with you. They usually make center courts slower for more rallies, I don’t know, more exciting points. That’s why tournaments do that, and I understand it.
Q. Hurkacz next. He was at the NextGen Finals last year. What did you make of his win over Kei?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Definitely his win against Kei was a tough one. I played Kei in the past. I know how it feels to play against him. Credit to him, because it’s not easy playing such a good player like Kei, with such an aggressive game. I’m going to have to stay focused obviously because doesn’t really matter if I beat him last week, now the conditions are different. I’m going to have to adjust to that. I’m pretty sure he has done some adjustments. He’s more aware of what I’m going to do in the upcoming match. I’m going to have to walk in without ever having played against him. I mean, that match is going to be very important for me. I’m going to be very, very happy if I get through that and win.
Q. Marseille was your second title, so this is still new to you: win a title and immediately go to another tournament. How do you feel about how you managed to handle all this?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I was kind of stressed if I’m going to adjust to these conditions fast because it was very, very different than last week. I’m happy that I kind of got to the rhythm slowly slowly. It is difficult, I can tell you. I’m doing well. I should continue doing well. I’m feeling well. Body’s okay. Yeah, I want to be motivated and stay strong and focused on this tournament because it offers a lot of points.
Q. After what you did in Australia, even maybe towards the end of last year, have you noticed a change in the attitude of the locker room? Do people believe it’s more and more a level playing field where anybody can win on the day?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: What do you mean? Do I get more…
Q. Do you sense a change in attitude in the locker room where younger players, everybody, other players, believe they can win?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I mean, I’m not sure. I mean, I don’t know what they feel. To me, I feel maybe a little bit more respected than before. People know what my game is capable of. I might say other players respect me a bit more. I respect them the same. I always respected them. It kind of raises awareness of who I really am as a player. I like that because, yeah, it’s a nice feeling. I hope younger guys my age, maybe even younger than me, will learn from that. I wish them to have similar results and similar outcomes in the future.
Q. I believe you played doubles with your brother.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah.
Q. What was that like for you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was a lot of fun. We didn’t do it for long time. He played unbelievable, I can tell you that. I played horrible. I don’t know, all the pressure of knowing that I’m going to have to raise my level and help him. No, I was really happy to see how well he performed in that match. Hopefully we can get some more wildcards so we can kind of find the rhythm playing together, maybe even win some ATP matches. That would be great.
Q. Is the goal for that to try to play the ATP Cup?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, exactly. That’s one of the main goals playing with him. If we manage to get even one win, as many as ATP gives us opportunity to play together, we’ll are grateful for that. I hope it happens again in the future.
Q. I think I saw there might be a tournament in Greece.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don’t know. I didn’t hear anything. I heard they’re planning. I heard some rumors it might happen 2020. I know nothing about it. Nobody told me.