Stefanos Tsitsipas had to stage another comeback in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Wednesday. After defeating Alex de Minaur 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 in a marathon match, Tsitsipas talked about his journey so far and the gratitude he feels about being a tennis player.
The Greek first stated that he wants to fight for every point and give it his all whenever he's on the court. Tsitsipas is thankful that he gets to play tennis, and he claimed that he tries to maximize every opportunity that comes his way.
"Fighting and putting my soul out there," Tsitsipas said. "Little bit also of gratitude and appreciation towards my efforts. I'm very grateful that I get to play tennis. I think any single opportunity presents itself, it's fair to say that I'm trying to get the most out of it. That is something that I'm personally grateful for."
Stefanos Tsitsipas went on to claim he has always wanted to play tennis since it is the biggest passion of his life. The 23-year-old admitted that things can get tough on tour with all the constant traveling and living out of a suitcase, but he asserted that it is all still very exciting for him.
"Tennis is my passion and tennis is something that I always wanted to be professionally involved with," Tsitsipas said. "It's great. Everyone has their goals and everyone has their own aspirations of what they want to become in life. Sometimes it can get difficult. Lots of traveling, lots of staying in hotel rooms and stuff. But there is a lot of excitement behind all of this. There's a lot of thrill that comes with it."
Tsitsipas further pointed out that some other players might not feel as grateful as him, since they may be it for money or other dispassionate reasons. But the Greek feels he was destined to play the game, and he claimed that he can't envision himself doing anything else in his life.
"Look, I don't think many players feel grateful," Tsitsipas said. "Some players have said that they do it for financial reasons, other players say they do it because they have nothing else to do, or just tennis chose them most importantly. I would describe it as, like, I guess I was destined to play tennis."
"I don't see myself doing anything else," he added. "I've accepted that."
Stefanos Tsitsipas' family has been through it all with him, which is another thing that makes the Greek feel grateful. Tsitsipas also thanked the media, as he enjoys his interactions with them and believes that they help improve the sport.
"My family has been involved in that. That is one more thing to be grateful for," Tsitsipas said. "I'm very happy to have met all of you guys and still have those interactions with you. You make the sport better as well."
Stefanos Tsitsipas was also asked about his Australian Open plans in light of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Tsitsipas' stance regarding the vaccine has raised a lot of eyebrows, and the Victoria government is reportedly planning to impose strict restrictions on players who haven't taken the jab.
On Wednesday, however, the Greek asserted that he's willing to adhere to any rules that are put in place ahead of the year's first Slam.
"I will play under the conditions that have been set now," Tsitsipas said. "I think it's fair."
"I was ready to stay for 3 more hours on the court" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on grueling battle against Alex de Minaur
Speaking more about his fourth-round encounter, Stefanos Tsitsipas pointed out that he and Alex de Minaur pushed each other to the limit. The 23-year-old also admitted that the match eventually turned into a physical battle, with both of them playing really well.
"We both played great, long rallies, battling from the baseline, trying to move the ball left to right," the Greek said. "There were a lot of exchanges. It got really physical. I was ready for the challenge to make it physical."
Stefanos Tsitsipas went on to claim he was ready to keep fighting until his "last breath", and that he could have played another three hours if he had to.
"I was ready to leave my last breath and really, like, go and wait and not rush it," Tsitsipas said. "That took a lot of willpower. It's one thing said and one thing done. I was ready to stay for three more hours on the court."