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Tsitsipas insists he has no hangover from last year’s final: “I’m starting fresh”

The Greek says he’s ready to try to go one better than in 2021, when he led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love in the final

Stefanos Tsitsipas RG practice 2022 Zuma / Panoramic

For some players, losing their first Grand Slam final from two sets up would be a scar that would linger, causing perhaps long-lasting psychological damage.

Stefanos Tsitsipas admits he’s found it hard to get over the bigger losses in his career – perhaps none more so than the last-16 battle with Stan Wawrinka at Roland-Garros when he lost 8-6 in the final set and was in tears afterwards.

But 12 months on from his near miss against Novak Djokovic in the Roland-Garros final, the Greek says his mind is clear.

“I had my first practice session (since) that final a few days ago,” Tsitsipas told reporters at Roland-Garros on Friday. “Nothing went through my mind, no flashback of that match, which is a good thing, I’m starting fresh.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas RG practice
Zuma / Panoramic

Dig a little deeper, though, and the memory remains. Tsitsipas played brilliant tennis to lead two sets to love but after Djokovic returned from a bathroom break, the match turned on its head.

“Obviously it’s a shame, losing a final, being two sets to love up, never really has happened before,” he said.

“He played great. He played better than me. He deserved to win that final. Especially after that two sets to love lead for me. So it’s simple. I just need to get better. I just need to have a longer duration of how the way I played in these first two sets, and be up there bringing the fire after every single shot.”

Tsitsipas goes into Roland-Garros with a good clay-court season behind him. He won Monte-Carlo for the second consecutive year, reached the semi-finals in Madrid and then the final in Rome, where Djokovic again stopped him.

“I have shown good tennis here,” he said. “I have shown good tennis in the last couple of tournaments. I didn’t really show my best tennis in the final few days ago.

“I don’t look far into the tournament, because I like to stay present and take every single match at a time. That’s the best way to do it, in my opinion.

“So looking for that sweet balance is the key for me. It comes with my daily routines. It comes with the feedback that I receive and analysis that I do and the implementation of it on the court in practice, and that’s where I know my current state, which right now is at a good level. I need to start playing matches in order to evaluate that in the best possible way.”

Tsitsipas will take on Lorenzo Musetti of Italy in the first round and knows he will need to hit the ground running.

“Lorenzo is a very good player on this surface,” he said. “I have played him before. I think he’s someone that can bring out on the court some good potential and has been, has shown in the past that he’s capable of playing good tennis.

“I’m obviously very happy to be playing these courts again. I know this first-round match is going to really bring the best out of me, at least I will try. It’s going to be the battle of two one-handed backhand players, and I think a pretty interesting match for most spectators to watch on this first round.”

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