Beaten Tsitsipas excited for the future: “There’s no reason to be affected by today’s loss. It’s a step forward”

The Greek insists he will bounce back quickly from his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Australian Open 2023 Stefanos Tsitsipas, Australian Open 2023 – © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Stefanos Tsitsipas said his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open in Sunday will spur him on to bigger and better things.

In his second slam final, the Greek found Djokovic too strong, going down 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5). But unlike the French Open of 2021, when he let slip a two-sets-to-love lead, Tsitsipas was much more upbeat, bullish about the future.

“I don’t think there’s any reason for me to be affected by today’s loss,” he said. “It is a step forward. I’m looking forward to scoring more points during this season, making bigger results, fighting for bigger trophies.

“I very much enjoy the way I play, my attitude on the court, my mental stability, my concentration levels. There’s still a little bit more to add to the whole structure of my game. I couldn’t be more excited to be heading towards that path.

“There is nothing that I didn’t use in my advantage. There’s nothing that I could have extracted more for today. I did everything possible.”

Tsitsipas on facing the greats: “I don’t see this is a curse”

It would be easy for Tsitsipas to be frustrated that Djokovic should again be blocking his path to Grand Slam glory. But Tsitsipas said having the 35-year-old in the sport, still winning titles, made him and everyone else a better player.

“Novak is a player that pushes you to your limits,” he said. “I don’t see this as a curse. I don’t see this as something, like, annoying. This is very good for the sport, to have competitors like him, to have champions like him.

“He’s very important for us that want to get to his point one day. Getting our asses kicked is for sure a very good lesson every single time. He has made me a much better player. He has made my levels of concentration higher and higher every single time I get to play him. You have to be really involved and you have to be dedicated to the game when you play against him.

“I find it a very important part of my career, to have a player like him that will help me grow better and do bigger things, speaking for my game.”

Melbourne defeat easier to take than Paris 2021

Tsitsipas said his defeat by Djokovic in Paris in 2021 was “heartbreaking” but insisted this loss won’t sit with him for a long time.

“I’m not thinking about the match anymore,” he said. “I’m just happy that I’m in another Grand Slam final. Of course, I was dreaming about the trophy, lifting that trophy. I even dreamt it last night in my sleep.

“The desire is really there. I really, really want it badly. But just dreaming about it won’t make it happen. You got to act. You got to do something out there. You got to be present even more and do better.

“Today I felt like there were moments that I was close, but the tiebreak didn’t really show that both ways. Just bad starts. So I’ll just eliminate it, take the good things, move on from there.

“I’m just thinking ahead. I’m thinking forward and not backward. Losing finals is not the best feeling in the world, for sure. Might sometimes, let’s say, be easier to sort of absorb a semi-final loss because you’re not dealing with the spotlight of the final.

“But definitely much better playing finals than being stuck behind in the semi-finals. I’ll take that for sure. I just need to take that one more step where I can consistently lift trophies and win slams and Masters 1000 events.”

No 1 also a big goal

Victory for Tsitsipas on Sunday would have made him the world No 1 for the first time and the 24-year-old said hitting top spot was something that would continue to drive him on.

“It’s my time to aim for something like this,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to be lowering my expectations or my goals. I am born a champion. I can feel it in my blood. I can feel it as a competitive kid that I was when I was young. It’s something that is within me.

“I want to harvest that, make it bloom, make it even stronger and fonder, work hard towards those goals. It’s that beautiful number, the number ‘1’, that will make things extremely emotional when converting that.”

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