Stefanos Tsitsipas 3R interview

  • def. Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 3-6 7-6(7) 6-4

Q. You said on court you'd rather face Taylor in the next round. You've got Roger, unfortunately. How are you looking at that match-up, and what did you learn from your Hopman Cup meeting with him?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: If I would know that Roger was 2-0 up when I said this, I probably wouldn't say that.

I learned a lot since my last match with him. I know the patterns that he's using a bit better now. He's serving really well, so I'm going to have to utilise his, and take advantage of my returns as much as possible. I'm pretty sure he's going to be serving well, so, yeah, return games need to be aggressive and pressing a lot.

Yeah, he's a legend of our sport. It will be a great day facing him in one of the best arenas, Rod Laver. I'm really excited for that match.

Q. Great match. Could you tell us a little bit about the crucial moment in the third set where your set point was overruled and afterwards you lost your service game. How did you survive? But I think you didn't make a challenge over it, no?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Challenge? Why should I make a challenge? The ball was in.

Q. No, it was third set point.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, when I lost my temper, right? Yeah, the ball was overruled, and I didn't quite get it, because his call was much later after my opponent made the return. I found this very unfair from the referee.

Yeah, it was a bit unfair, and, you know, pressure and everything. Yeah, I let all of it out. Again, it was not fair, and I think referee's decision was not the right one, but it was important that I let this by.

I was a bit frustrated for a couple of games, but then I stayed positive. I start thinking, Let's not leave this, let's not just destroy everything, and concentrate on the next game, tiebreak, and it went pretty well.

Q. Roger just said you were rather timid and you didn't speak too much, but on the court you don't look timid at all. How are you really?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I do all the talking in the court (smiling). I'm not shy. Actually, I was shy when I was a kid but not anymore. I learn to find my comfort when I'm with people. I think I'm comfortable meeting new people and having a discussion with someone.

Not many of the players, you know, want to be friends on the tour. That's a problem. That's an issue, you know, unless you speak the same language. That's why you see all these Spaniards, Latin Americans, hang out with each other. Then you have, I don't know, Asian people with each other. So that makes sense.

That's why I'm very good friends with Marcos. He understands me. I understand him. It's working pretty well.

But I would love to, yeah, have more friends on tour. It's not easy with all the traveling and everything. So I'm definitely not going to have friends out of the tour because they can't afford to travel with me. I'm working on it (smiling).

Q. Is it ever nice being kind of on your own as an only player from a country when you see drama happening like with the Australian men and with bigger countries have more infighting that you kind of get to be more of an island maybe?

Q. Kind of. You know, you kind of get the place to yourself in terms of Greek tennis, you and Maria.
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Me and Maria. That's how I see it, as well. It's great. I think I can be a good representative of my country in that sport. Obviously Maria, as well. She lost unfortunately today, which makes me a little bit sad. I would love to see her go through.

Yeah, being alone on the tour, I hope I inspire some kids in Greece to play. I saw one of the interviews that Gunneswaran gave a few days ago, the Indian guy, saying even if he does well it's not going to affect his country. I found this kind of related to my situation, as well. Greece doesn't have the structure and unfortunately what it takes to create a player from such a small country. But you have academies outside the country. You have some good places where you can go and train.

I hope kids learn to play in Greece and then develop and bring their game to the next level by going abroad.

Q. During that third set you did say some things that were a little bit inappropriate.

Q. Considering that, you know, Melbourne has a large Greek community and there were a lot of young kids watching you play, do you apologise for some of the things you said?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: For sure. As I said, it was heat of the moment. I said some really bad things. I regret saying them. But I really wanted this really bad. At that moment it felt like it was slipping out, you know. He kind of found comfort and confidence after that. So I was really frustrated. I didn't quite think what I was saying.

Yeah, I wish I could change that and wouldn't say that. It's not the right attitude.

Q. After the game today I spoke to your coach and he tell me when he's coming to the draw, he said you coming to the third round and I guess you play Federer. Are you ready to make any preparation training special to play against Federer?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I just finish my match. I have a day today I will work on it. I have to work on everything I have to do to prepare for that match. I'm going to have to play my best obviously game that I have played this week to beat that player.

Yeah, I'm going to have to work on a lot of things. Again, it was nice to have an experience with him in Perth a few weeks ago to kind of see how he operates and what he does on the court. But, yeah, it's going to be an interesting challenge.

Q. Do you have any particular memories of watching him growing up, any matches that stand out?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: The El Clasico against Nadal, Djokovic. Yeah. I saw a lot of matches.

If I thought about it now it's insane I'm in this position where I can actually play him. It's really emotional.

Q. Any finals or anything that stick in your head?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Finals? Yeah, I remember that final he played with Rafa in Wimbledon. 2009 or 2008? It was an amazing final. I watched all of it. I remember that.

Also the match that he played against Soderling, French Open, when he won the French Open for the very first time. The final that he played against, US Open against Djokovic, I think. Did he beat Djokovic US Open? That final, yeah.

Q. Many players, when they first play Roger on a big stage are quite intimidated by the occasion. They find it difficult to cope with. I'm guessing you won't feel like that. Do you think you're ready for this?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I hope so. I mean, you know, it's not easy to play these kind of players that you've been watching for so long and you finally get to play them. Mentally you have to be much stronger than any other match that you have faced that week.

Having such a name like Federer on the other side, it's an extra, I would say, advantage for him, because he's done what he's done. But mentally, you know, for players to beat him, they have to be ready and believe in themselves that they are, their game is great enough to beat such a player.

I feel good. I can tell you that.

Q. What were your feelings today about the atmosphere created by the Greek fans? Do you expect a kind of home-field advantage against Federer?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I hope they will make it to the match. That would be amazing.

Yeah, is more calm, better for me, I don't know. But they give a nice atmosphere, energy on the court. I appreciate what they do. They really want it as bad as me.