Stefanos Tsitsipas hails Novak Djokovic as the ‘greatest that has ever held a tennis racket’

It was another case of close but too far for Stefanos Tsitsipas, after he lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

After losing the first set, the Greek ace had his chances in the second set but couldn’t capitalise, and eventually lost 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) on Rod Laver Arena.

In the process Djokovic equalled Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles while regaining the world No 1 ranking, achievements the 24-year-old couldn’t help but admire.

“Novak I don’t know what to say. It speaks for itself what you have achieved so far. It’s all in the numbers,” he said on Rod Laver Court after the match.

“Congratulations. Not only to yourself but having such a supportive family. I think it is very similar the way we grew up around tennis so it’s been an unbelievable journey for you.

“I admire what you’ve done for our sport and I think you make me a better player when are on court.

“I have had the privilege to play a lot of difficult and high-intensity matches but I would like to say one more time Novak brings out the best in me. He’s one of the greatest in our sport and he’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket for sure.

“I’d like to think to thank you for pushing our sport so far. I think it deserves a player like you who pushes every single player that’s involved in the sport to the max.”

It was a second defeat a Grand Slam final for Tsitsipas, having lost in the French Open final in 2021 in dramatic fashion after leading by two sets.

While with Djokovic still the world’s best player and Rafael Nadal still around, opportunities in the Slams are going to be hard to come by, surely a Major title is just around the corner.

Particularly in Australia, where he has reached the semi-finals in four of the last five years.

“It’s not easy, another final at a Grand Slam but I am always willing to go back on court and work harder. I would like to thank my team for coming on this journey with me,” he continued.

“I am happy I have group of supportive people around me, people who wake up every single day and have the same goals and ambitions as me. I’m extremely privileged that I get to do this for a living.

“I would also like to thank the Greek fans because they always make me so welcome here.

“Thank you very much and hope to see you next year.”