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 are your thoughts on that match tonight?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: He was very aggressive, didn’t give me any time today. I mean, I was expecting it, for him to be a little more aggressive. He just seemed like having control over everything he was doing, taking the ball super early, on the rise, giving me no time to prepare.
It was a very fast-tempo game. It felt like he was controlling everything on his own terms. He was just very, very aggressive. I probably didn’t make the right decisions on my serve. That’s why I lost with that score.
Q. In the future, in a few weeks, can you look back and feel you were part of an historic match given his 100th here?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, for sure.
Q. What does that mean to you, especially that you idolized him?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Just feels strange. I really want to win my first 500 title. I’ve been trying hard, very long now. I mean, it’s a bit sad. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t manage to do it now. I’m actually pretty happy for him, as well. As I said before, I know he has worked very hard to get there. I mean, I didn’t want to give it to him. I’m happy that he had achieved what he achieved. I mean, it was completely different atmosphere today. I don’t know if it played big role in my performance, but I felt like the crowd was really cheering for him. I mean, that’s obvious. He’s a legend. But, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Q. How do you reflect on such an impressive week following your victory in Marseille?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: In a way I’m satisfied that I managed to get to the finals because the conditions were really difficult than Marseille. Coming back outdoors after getting used to play all my matches in indoor conditions with no sun, with no wind, without any side effects, I’m pretty happy and satisfied that I managed to make the final. I had points to defend since last year. I’m grateful that I managed to earn more points than I actually had to defend, and that I cracked into the top 10 for the first time.
Q. Did you feel tired after yesterday and the last two weeks?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Mentally mostly. Not so much physically. Like, too much tennis. When your brain gets used to certain patterns all the time, certain game style and everything, the way you’ve been playing all the time, that works for you, your brain sometimes gets really tired of it and wants to change some things. That’s why I start missing those forehands that I never miss. The brain sometimes cannot cope.
Q. When you play Roger with a crowd like that, how much of that affects you? Do you hear it?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Sometimes I hear it because it’s really loud, louder than usual. You hear it. You’re not deaf. I might say that these two forehands that I missed, one on match point, one on the breakpoint 4-All in the second, might have affected me a little bit because I knew that the crowd would go crazy if I would miss the shot. I don’t know. It kind of affects your brain knowing that everybody is cheering for him and everybody is supporting him. Again, he earned all the crowd. He earned all of that support. I do understand it. Sometimes it can get a bit too much.
Q. After two straight tournaments, are you going to have a chance and time to recuperate before Indian Wells?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I mean, I have three days, four days.
Q. Spend time here?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I’m leaving tomorrow morning, so… Not really.
Q. You mentioned you’re into the top 10. How much did you believe you could achieve so much so quickly?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: How much? It was a step-by-step process. First I crocked into the top 100. Then I had another goal of making the top 50. I would say the toughest thing, toughest achievement, was getting into the top 100. I’d been struggling to make it quite a while. If there was a moment where I would recall the toughest one was getting in the top 100. It felt like my game was flowing pretty well. I felt like I was improving every single time. I felt like I could break into the top 10. Once I was inside the top 100, I felt like I had the possibilities and the game to make it. I was happy last night against Gael. It was something I was craving for for a long time. I was not sure, because I was 11 in the world. This match, probably Indian Wells, Miami, maybe some other players behind you play better, it’s really tough to deal with it. I’m happy that I got through that.
Q. On a number of occasions you dedicated your victories to Greece.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Which win?
Q. I think the first one here or the second. You said you were happy to win also for Greece.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, yeah.
Q. How does the element of pride contribute to your game? What has your success done for Greek tennis?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It educated people from Greece that had no idea about tennis before, to get to know the sport better. I’m proud. I’m a symbol for that country. A star, if you can call it, who is putting a big impact into the sport in Greece, outside Greece as well. But I’m actually really proud, as you said, specifically for Greece because Greece is not known for its tennis history, any tennis moments. I’m very proud that I’m Greek. I mean, everybody should feel proud for what they are. I’m really proud that I’m Greek. Representing those colors, representing this flag, it’s the biggest honor. I feel like a team when I’m playing for Greece. I feel like it’s teamwork, not individual thing.