Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What hurts the most?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: My back.
Q. You told us how much you wanted this. Now that you have it, how does it feel?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Sweet and tasty.
Q. Talk us through how you managed to fight off all these breakpoints.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don’t know. I just played. I just played tennis. Probably a bit more concentrated than usual. I didn’t want to give it to him. That’s why I saved those breakpoints.
Q. What are you most proud of in how this happened?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: How this changed suddenly. Like, the whole match changed out of nowhere. I can only recall twice, twice in my good player career, facing good players, I remember once again Zverev, in Toronto, and once against Gael today. That was huge. Probably because I was very relaxed. Today, I mean, I entered the semifinal, I was so tired. I could feel my body. I don’t know, I was not expecting much from me, to be honest. I was just playing. My main focus was not to go too much. If you would play good shots, usually I would run for them, give 100%. But today I felt like my body will crack if I do that again. I guess he understood that. I’m not sure. He was missing couple of shots. Oh, he had a breakpoint to go 5-3 up.
Q. How huge is this for your confidence, how much do you take from this?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I take a lot from that. I have improved since last year. Beating the big guys, big players, players that have been in the top 10, means a lot to me. I want to get there at some point myself, and I made it today. I don’t know, probably a special day for Greece. I’m practicing. I’m doing everything, all the hard work I’m doing to face these guys and beat them. That’s my main purpose on court, beat most of the guys all the time I’m facing, some out of the top 100, some inside the top 100, maybe top 50. The biggest joy is to beat the top 10 guys.
Q. Who would you prefer tomorrow? The rematch perhaps?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I guess Coric, I don’t know. It would be nice to have two not NextGen any more, but young guys play against each other. That’s how I think of it.
Q. In this match what was the difference at the end of the day between winning and losing?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: What was the difference?
Q. How did you finally succeed in winning the match.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: How did I succeed on winning the match?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Smiling, being relaxed, not caring much, as simple as that.
Q. There was a lot on the line, given the top 10 position. When you say ‘not caring much’, what do you mean by that?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, good point. As I said, not going for every shot. Not running stupid to get shots that I will probably lose. I don’t know if you seem to see that when I was on the court. My back was hurting a lot when I enter the court. I mean, at some point when I entered, I started feeling this back pain before I started warming up. I thought, Shit, this feels horrible. Maybe I should retire. It felt really bad. I mean, I never retired in my life, not once, so I didn’t want it to happen today. I stayed in the court. I said, Okay, maybe serve well, come to the net. As you saw, I was approaching a lot today. I was trying to avoid the rallies from the baseline as much as possible, yeah. That’s what I mean ‘not caring much’.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Exactly, conserving. Maybe leaving my best effort for later, not concentrating too much on every single game.
Q. You talked about coming forward. Gael has terrific passing shots. Was there any time you thought perhaps you should back off because it wasn’t working? You stayed committed to it.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Of course, that’s the only option I had. He’s a good baseliner. He likes to make you play. If you don’t take that advantage and come to the net as often as possible… He’s a fast guy. That’s the way to go against him. You have few options. One of them is coming to the net.
Q. What would be your most important quality as a tennis player today and tomorrow?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Being humble and being fired up when I’m on the court. Is that okay?
Q. That’s two.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: That’s enough? Fired up, kind boy.
Q. Relaxation is a sign of maturity, right?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I also feel like people have told me, I don’t know if that’s good to say, but people have told me that I’m really mature for my age. I don’t know if that’s true. Not one person, from what I can recall, maybe five or six people have told me that in the past. Maybe mature. Let’s put it in.
Q. You spoke about the possibility of playing Borna. What about if you play Roger, what would it mean for you to play him so soon after Australia, him going for the hundredth?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I’m sure he will be pumped up. It’s not easy. It’s not easy for both of us. He obviously wants to beat me. For him, that loss was a big thing. I’m pretty sure he will come – if he wins, whoever wins – inside the court fired up, wanting to take a revenge from me. I’m definitely expecting that. But let’s see how the body feels. Is the final tomorrow?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I’m going to have to recover very well for that. It’s really tough, trust me.