Tsitsipas: “I have worked a lot, 2023 will be different”

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By Bill Roumeliotis.

A few days before the first big meeting of the new season in Melbourne, Stefanos Tsitsipas seemed optimistic about his course in 2023.

“I have put in a lot of work and passion,” the leading Greek tennis player told exclusively to sports reporter Bill Roumelioti of the Greek Herald. 

“It’s hard to put it this way, but a lot of analysis has gone into understanding what needs to be done to be able to get to the next level. 2023 will be different and I want to say it right now that it will be a year full of great memories. A lot of work has gone into making something different for 2023. My goals are different and I’ve never given myself the opportunity to have those goals before. And I’m sure I’m at a point in my career where I can aim for that.”

Photo: Twitter

He also spoke about the “weight” of the leader of Greece. “It doesn’t bother me. We have a goal with Maria, to raise tennis in Greece, to bring it even to schools. To become one of the main sports that will interest the world. To me what we do is beautiful, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do it if we hadn’t both chosen to pursue tennis professionally. And for us it is an incredible honor to be able to do it at such a high level and of course on the occasion of the United Cup. I had explained it a few months ago to the ATP that it would be very nice if they organized such a tournament. I’m glad it came true and we had an amazing time there, I also met members of the team that I didn’t know well. The team dynamic is amazing, I hope we have a very good No.2 man and woman soon, who will be able to help us in future tough matches to give us the chance to one day win the United Cup. It may be the beginning of the event, but it will develop into a historic tournament, I’m sure it will be played for many years to come.”

Last year he came from an injury, but he reached the semi-finals of the event. How far can he go this year when he’s healthy? “I feel, of course, much better than last year and the expectations are definitely different. I am happy that I can and play without pain. It was something I couldn’t even do in last year’s ATP Cup and I wasn’t even sure if I would play 100% in the Australian. I am thankful that there is no problem at the moment and I am really playing the way I want to play. How high is the bar? We see this. That comes match by match, I can’t assume and say that will happen. I want to stay grounded and do my job, the way I do it. There will be tough opponents in the next two weeks and I will have to put up something good.”

He also spoke at the press conference in English about the new season. “I have made it clear since the beginning of the year what I want to achieve this year (the No.1). I mustn’t rush, though. I shouldn’t be running at 1,000 miles an hour and waiting for it to happen. I have to be steady, come back strong when the losses come sometime. We have young players coming from behind, we still have Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal playing good tennis. It’s still here. I know I can do many things this year. I have the ability to handle the pressure and challenges this year will bring. With proper preparation comes proper execution.”

Tsitsipas during his press conference ahead of the Australian Open 2023. Photo: Mark Baker via Associated Press

As for Novak Djokovic’s return to Melbourne? “I don’t have a lot of thoughts about it, honestly. It’s good for the world that it’s back. He is one of the strongest players on the board. He can still go very deep in the tournament, he has played great matches here. It’s up to us to do something to stop him.”

Stefanos makes his Australian Open debut on Monday (16/1) and his first opponent is Kenden Allis.

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