“He is no doubt the best” – Tsitsipas believes Novak Djokovic’s stats are untouchable, but Federer has impacted him the most

In an interview with Yannis Palaiologos, Stefanos opens up on Novak Djokovic’s greatness, Federer’s impact and his own quest for balance

Novak Djokovic Stefanos Tsitsipas Astana 2022 Novak Djokovic Stefanos Tsitsipas Astana 2022 / © Al Reuters/ Panoramic

Speaking to Greek journalist Yannis Palaiologos, fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas opened up on several topics including Novak Djokovic’s record-breaking status, Roger Federer’s impact and Rafael Nadal’s fight.

In light of Djokovic’s record-breaking 24th major title, the Greek says that the 36-year-old has created an untouchable body of work.

“He is no doubt the best, going by numbers. He breaks record after record,” Tsitsipas said. “He also has the thirst, even though he has nothing to prove anymore.

“That’s how he’s wired. He’s never happy; it’s like he’s always trying to prove something to someone. I don’t know what or to whom. It’s like he always wants a rematch.”

To give an example, Tsitsipas hearkens back to August, when Djokovic delivered an epic victory over Carlos Alcaraz in the Cincinnati final.

“He has that glint in his eye,” Tsitsipas added. “I never thought that Alcaraz would lose that game. Yet Djokovic found a way to make that happen.”

When it comes to impact – it’s Federer

With the evidence pointing decisively to Djokovic in 2023 as the Serbian has racked up three more major titles this year to leave his Big Three brethren in the dust, more and more fans and pundits are coming up with creative ways to honour Federer and Nadal. Even if they can’t match Djokovic in the statistical categories, it’s important that they aren’t left out of critical discussions.

For Tsitsipas, when it comes to the most impactful player, Federer is his clear choice.

He was asked which player had inspired more people and had the bigger impact and replied:

“Then it’s Federer, by a landslide. The finesse and beauty he brought to tennis, his magic on the court. I don’t think anyone else will ever match him,” Tsitsipas said.

As for Nadal, the Greek believes that the King of Clay embodied the warrior spirit better than any other player. He called the 22-time major champion the “Greatest fighter I have ever seen, and not just in tennis, but in any sport.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas at 2023 Wimbledon Championships
Stefanos Tsitsipas at 2023 Wimbledon Championships Image Credit: Action Plus / Panoramic

Stefanos on Stefanos: the top isn’t everything

Tsitsipas, who was interviewed in Athens ahead of Davis Cup last weekend, says that for him striking a balance in life is more important than it ever has been. He was asked if he still burns to win his first major title and had this reply:

“I certainly think about it a lot, but the top isn’t everything. I was addicted to this target when I was younger and this deprived me of something.

“This doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with what I have accomplished; I do want to improve as a player. But the key is finding a balance between your private life, building something with someone, and moving ahead in your career, with that person’s help.”

Tsitsipas hints that his romantic relationship with fellow professional Paula Badosa of Spain has helped him make sense of the unhealthy pressure and expectations that can sabotage a player over time.

“Her presence in my life helps me a lot,” he agreed. “She has changed my approach to the game in a way that I never expected.”

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