He didn't give me any air to breathe - Tsitsipas in awe of Nadal
Stefanos Tsitsipas said Rafael Nadal "didn't give me any air to breathe" as the relentless world number one produced another masterclass to win his 11th Barcelona Open title.
Tsitsipas punched above his weight to reach a first ATP World Tour final in Catalonia, but was emphatically beaten 6-2 6-1 by an imperious Nadal on Sunday.
Nadal showed no mercy on the Greek teenager, stretching his incredible winning run on clay to 19 consecutive matches and 46 sets in a row.
Tsitsipas knew he would be up against it when he took on the 16-time grand slam champion for the first time and said a daunting challenge was even more difficult than he was expecting.
"I knew the chances to win were small, but my confidence was rising in every match and while I was expecting a little better today, congratulations to Rafa," Tsitsipas said.
"It was a first experience and tougher than I thought. I've watched him millions of times on TV, but it's tougher to face him in reality.
"You need to be patient and do everything right, but I was in a rush and had my head in a mess. I was trying to go for the lines, which was the wrong thing. I had no options. He didn't give me any air to breathe out there. It's something to learn from for sure and I hope to do better against him in the future."
King Rafa reigns in Barcelona for the 11th time— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) April 29, 2018
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Watch the full match replay on @TennisTV: https://t.co/Gjs46iXzzQ pic.twitter.com/DsEjgbcpse
Nadal claimed an 11th Monte Carlo title last week and revelled in reaching the same tally in another tournament he has dominated.
"I'm very happy for the victory against a very difficult opponent," he said. "Tsitsipas has an amazing future. It was a great final for me and the 11th title here means a lot. I enjoyed the whole week and had great support from the crowd.
"It's very difficult to describe how to win 11 titles at one tournament. To win 11 Monte-Carlos and 11 Barcelonas is something I couldn't imagine doing. I'm just enjoying every week and the fact I'm playing in a tournament that I enjoy so much means a lot to me."