Rolex Shanghai Masters
Monday, 8 October 2018
S. TSITSIPAS/G. Monfils 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
Q. Can you talk a little about your match today and the up-and-down you played, you struggled a little bit, the 12th game of the first set and went ahead in the tiebreak and the dip in the second?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It was a weird game, lots of service breaks, many long rallies in the match. Gaël has a rhythm that’s not very comfortable when you’re on the other side of the net.
His balls are actually — you know, you never know what to expect. Sometimes the ball comes slower; sometimes the ball comes faster. So you’re just — it confuses you, you know. There are not many players that play this way.
It was very, very hard, because he was serving pretty well, I can say. My serve was all right. I mean, I felt better with my serve in the past, but I managed to open the court well with my serve and then take, you know, take the forehands and try to come to the net.
But, yeah, I managed to stay patient. I got broken when serving for the match in the third set. I remained calm and focused and then went back in the next game and broke him, which I believe is a big strength from my side. It shows good character.
Q. You’re down a set point in the first, scrambling on defense, and you set Monfils up for what looks like it should have been an easy forehand put-away to close the set. Of course he tries the dropshot and puts it into the net. How big was that moment for you in terms of momentum and especially going into the tiebreak where you won six straight points to start?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, in the beginning I was frustrated. I don’t know if you saw it from my reaction that I played defensive, like, I didn’t press that much in that point.
I got so lucky. I can say that. I was very, very lucky to — yeah, I don’t know, his decision to play the shot at that moment. But I kept fighting. He had many set points. It was not just one. I kept fighting, kept having this fighting spirit, and then I just — I was in the zone.
I had the momentum in the tiebreak. Everything seemed to work quite well for me. Yeah, then he kind of came back 6-4. It was tight. It was just a weird game, you know. Things that you wouldn’t expect that would happen in that match just happened (smiling).
Thank God I didn’t lose the set from 6-Love in the tiebreak. I had some problems with it a few weeks before in a match where I was leading 5-1 in the second set. I lost the match at the end. I was a set up and 5-1 in the tiebreak. Mentally it was not easy to deal with it. So having something similar today was also quite tough to, you know, play my game.
But I served a good serve there. Yeah, first set it was actually very important because I would lose the match, I think, in the second because I lost the set, yeah.
Q. Last year you were qualifier in Shanghai. But this year you are seeded No. 10. How do you think of your improvement in the last year?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I have improved a lot since last year physically, mentally. My game has changed. I am more aggressive now. I’m actually stronger. I feel stronger. My body has changed since last year.
I have done lots of matches in the ATP main draw, lots of wins which gave me confidence. You know, I believe in myself a little bit more.
Actually, last year Shanghai was the tournament that gave me the first main-draw win on ATP, so I have some good memories from here.
And, yeah, I have improved a lot. I have worked hours and hours on the court, lots of hours in the gym. I believe it’s just part of what I should be doing. I can’t wait for the future. I think I have more things to improve and more things to focus on and develop my game even more.
Q. We haven’t seen a vlog from you in a while. Have you found anything to inspire you in Shanghai? Can you talk about the importance of having off-court activities?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, I haven’t done a vlog for a while. I have been missing this thing that goes under your camera with which you can vlog with a GorillaPod that I have.
So I lost this thing which is very important. So I cannot really vlog right now when I try to replace this or buy a new one.
But, yeah, I really wanted to make a travel vlog in Tokyo. Didn’t happen. Having activities like this one helps me relax and get my head off tennis for a little bit, have some fun, entertain people and be creative.