The echoes of Federer’s four-set fourth-round victory over his own idol, Pete Sampras, at Wimbledon in 2001 resonated around Rod Laver Arena. “You’re watching the changing of the guard,” John McEnroe announced in the immediate aftermath, much as many did those near-18 years ago.
“That's crazy, what a coincidence,” Tsitsipas said with an air of wonder as he considered the parallels. “I watched that match when I was playing Wimbledon.
“I did watch couple of [Federer’s] matches in the past that he played on hard courts,” he added. “I watched a few highlights of him that I used to do the analysing, some highlights of players that beat him in Grand Slams.”
Asked what were the keys to the momentous victory, Tsitsipas said: “It’s very important to have this aggressive mindset and not to think too much about what’s going to happen,” said the Greek. “Stay in the moment, play percentage tennis, have first serves in and press from the very beginning.
“I managed to do that. I didn’t lose my patience in some of the rallies that we played, so that was the key to saving those break points. And overall, I showed a great fighting spirit and determination.
“I do believe that coming to the net, being aggressive and taking the ball early, we have to keep it going. Most players in this era are baseliners, and I really like this aggressive game – coming to the net, serve-volleying sometimes. It keeps the game alive.”