Stefanos Tsitsipas paid the ultimate tribute to Novak Djokovic by calling him the greatest player to ever hold a tennis racquet after their 2023 Australian Open final clash.
Djokovic won his 10th title at the Australian Open by beating the Greek 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final on Sunday, January 29. The Serb also equaled Rafael Nadal’s tally of 22 Grand Slam singles titles while returning to the top of the ATP rankings.
In his runner-up speech, Tsitispas congratulated Djokovic and his family on the win and stated that the Serb made him a better player.
“Novak, I don’t know what to say, I mean, I think it speaks for itself, what you have achieved so far. It’s all in the numbers. Congratulations, not only to yourself but to having such a supportive family, I think it is very similar to the way we grow up around tennis,” the Greek said.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey for you, I admire what you have done for our sport. I think you make me a better player when I am on the court, so thank you,” he added.
Tsitsipas had a very special tribute reserved for Djokovic as he called him the “greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet.”
“I’ve had the privilege of playing a lot of difficult, high intensity matches, but I’d like to say one more time, Novak brings the best out of me and there are the matches I have been working my entire life for. He’s one of the greatest in our sport and I think he’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet,” the Greek said.
“I’d like to thank you for pushing our sport so far. I think it deserves a player like you that pushes every single player, every single individual that is involved with the sport,” he added.
“I’m always willing to go back on court and work hard”- Stefanos Tsitsipas after losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic
Stefanos Tsitsipas added in his speech that while losing another Grand Slam final was not easy, he is willing to go back on the court and work hard. The Greek ace also thanked his team and fans for their support.
“It’s not easy, another final at a Grand Slam but I’m always willing to go back on court and work hard. I would like to thank my team for being on this journey with me together. We’ve been building a lot. I’m happy I have a group of supportive people around me, people that wake up every single day and share the same goals, ambitions with me,” Tsitsipas said.
“I’m extremely privileged that I get to do this for a living. I’d also like to thank the great fans because they always make me feel at home here,” he added.
The Greek finished his speech by thanking every individual involved with the Australian Open and the sponsors.
“Last but not least, coming back to Australia brings back good memories. To all the ball kids, to all the photographers, to all the staff and people involved with Tennis Australia and the Australian Open, I would like to personally thank you for putting so much to this every single day,” Tsitsipas said.
“Your job is not easy, we respect that a lot as players. We may not show that as much when we are competing but it’s very much appreciated. Of course, the sponsors, they play an important role in our game. Without them, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to doing what we do. KIA, Emirates, Mastercard, all the sponsors, thank you, thank you very much. Hope to see you next year,” he finished.
With the win over Tsitsipas, Djokovic also reclaimed his spot at the top of the world rankings.