Djokovic has almost reached perfection: Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas lauded Novak Djokovic after going down 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 1-6 in a dramatic French Open semi-final

Stefanos Tsitsipas (left) and Novak Djokovic

Young Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas lauded Novak Djokovic as ‘almost perfect’ after going down 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 1-6 in a dramatic French Open semi-final on Friday evening.

“For sure he has almost reached perfection, Novak, in his game style, the way he plays, which is unbelievable to see, honestly,” Tsitsipas said. “That inspires me a lot to go out and work and try to reach that perfection, that ability to have everything on the court.”

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Tsitsipas was on the brink of a straight sets exit, as Djokovic held a match point in the third set while serving at 5-4. But the 22-year-old flipped the script, converted his first break point in 11 chances to win the game.

Tsitsipas stuck to his guns and played some great first-strike tennis to win the next set and push the match into a decider. But he couldn’t stay with the cool and collected Djokovic mentally or physically in the fifth as the match neared four hours of playing time.

“I feel happy and at the same time sad,” the World No 6 said. It was his second Grand Slam semi-final: he had reached the final four at the 2019 Australian Open, and lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.

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“Could have been a better result for me today. Novak showed once again what an incredible athlete (he is) and his ability on the courts,” Tsitsipas said.

If Tsitsipas laments anything, it will be his strategy early on. The 22-year-old used his aggressive backhand down the line to great effect to get back into the match, but it proved too late.

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“I had an amazing comeback. I wish I could have figured certain things earlier,” he said.

“I felt like it was a total demolition… I tried things in practice and tried to implement them in the match. It was something new. I wish I wouldn’t have tried these things and tried to stay to my ordinary and basic way of feeling the ball and also trying to dictate the game.”

Tsitsipas faced the best player in the world, currently, and came up short. But the reigning ATP Tour Finals champion has once again shown a lot of promise in the way he bounced back from his US Open disappointment.

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The Greek had failed to close out the third round clash against Borna Coric despite holding six match points. But he followed it up with a feisty run on the Parisian clay.

“I was still a kid, and now I’m turning more into an adult. My thinking has changed. I’ve matured. I’ve been through a lot of things. I have grown from the people around me,” Tsitsipas said.

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In the final, Djokovic will take on that familiar foe Nadal. It will be the ninth meeting between the two in Grand Slam finals; they have won four times each.