"I was watching Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic play on TV as a kid and now I am facing them" - Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rudra Biswas

Stefanos Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title on Sunday, and that has given the Greek the confidence to go all the way at a Slam too. Speaking to the media ahead of the start of his Barcelona Open campaign, Tsitsipas was bullish about his chances of winning a Major title in the near future.

The 22-year-old also referred to the peculiarity of having watched the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as a child, and then having to face them now in his bid to win a Slam.

"I was watching Rafa, Roger and Novak play on TV as a kid and now I am facing them. I think I can win a Grand Slam," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.

Stefanos Tsitsipas went on to praise Rafael Nadal's achievement of 11 Barcelona titles, before claiming that he would be happy if he accumulated even half of Nadal's tally at the 500-level event.

"It's amazing, it's quite inspiring," Tsitsipas said. "I would like to have half of his titles in Barcelona."

"What's considered a rivalry, 30 matches? We're going to get there for sure" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on his rivalry with Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas embrace after their Monte Carlo final
Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas embrace after their Monte Carlo final

Stefanos Tsitsipas was also asked how important it was to have Next Gen rivalries that could bear comparison with legendary ones like Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal or Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic.

Tsitsipas replied that he already had a rivalry going on with Andrey Rublev, whom he beat in the Monte Carlo final to to grab a 4-3 lead in the head-to-head. The Greek then asserted that the duo were going to play more such high-profile matches in the future.

"We (I and Rublev) have a rivalry already," Tsitsipas said. "It's building up. I don't know what's a rivalry, what's considered a rivalry. What, 30 matches? We're going to get there for sure if we play against each other so frequently. I don't see no reason for us not to be there."

Stefanos Tsitsipas went on to opine that about 15 years ago, when both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were at their peak, the competition was not as versatile as it is now. The 22-year-old believes the current generation will offer more rivalries than the previous era did, and he cited his match-ups with the likes of Alexander Zverev, Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini to prove his point.

"I'm sure I'm going to have not just a rivalry with Andrey," Tsitsipas said. "You see back 15 years ago, 10 years ago when Nadal and Federer built one. I feel like in our circumstances, the way it's going to be in this era, there are going to be much more rivalries than just one. It won't be singular. Me with Zverev, me with Sinner, me with Berrettini. There are going to be a lot of rivalries out there. I think this variety that tennis is going to receive is going to make it really exciting."

Edited by Prem Deshpande

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