By Meredith Cash
Novak Djokovic is undoubtedly one of the top tennis players in the history of the sport.
But is he the greatest of all time?
Stefanos Tsitsipas — the world’s third-ranked player, who lost a straight-set thrashing to Djokovic in Sunday’s Australian Open final — sure thinks so.
“He’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket, for sure,” the Tsitsipas said of Djokovic in a speech during the trophy ceremony.
“I’ve had the privilege to play a lot of difficult, high-intensity matches, but I’d like to say one more time that Novak brings the best out of me and these other matches have been working my entire life for [this],” he continued, adding: “I admire what you have done for our sport. I think you make me a better player when I’m on the court, so thank you.”
"He is the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet."@steftsitsipas • @DjokerNole • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/VDvVI9r8RP
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2023
Djokovic’s 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) master class gave him his 22nd career Grand Slam singles title, two clear of Roger Federer who retired last year and drawing even with Rafael Nadal’s mark for most major championships in men’s tennis history. The Serbian superstar went on to call Sunday’s win “the biggest victory of my life.”
But for Tsitsipas — who’s made four Grand Slam semifinals and one final prior to this year’s Australian Open — Sunday’s final didn’t offer the breakthrough he has long dreamed about. Even still, the young Greek star doesn’t see the rout as a “reason to be lowering my expectations or my goals.”
“Getting our asses kicked is for sure a very good lesson every single time,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match press conference. “[Djokovic] has made me a much better player. He has made my levels of concentration get higher and higher every single time I get to play 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,” he added.
Tsitsipas Australian Open Press:
“Getting our asses kicked is a very good lesson every single time. Novak Djokovic is important for us that want to get to his level one day.”
Stefanos’ outlook has to be admired. He sees this loss as a lesson, & that’s the best way to see it pic.twitter.com/yczGjphoJ3
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 29, 2023