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Tsitsipas attains 'nirvana' on court to take down Nadal

February 17, 2021 23:30 IST
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'I just played more flawless. I really didn't care, honestly. I played with no care, and that increased the level of tennis that I put out there.'

Stefanos Tsitsipas

IMAGE: Stefanos Tsitsipas raised his level and made Rafael Nadal pay dearly. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Stefanos Tsitsipas credited his stellar comeback win against Rafael Nadal in Wednesday's Australian Open quarter-final to his peace of mind, saying he had attained a state of "nirvana" during the match despite falling back by two sets.

 

For the first half of the match under the artificial lights of the Rod Laver Arena, Tsitsipas appeared to be heading towards a repeat of his thumping defeat in straight-sets by Nadal in the 2019 semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

The 22-year-old Greek, however, turned the match on its head from two sets down to script a spectacular 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 victory despite managing to keep his emotions in check.

"The thing is that I wasn't really thinking about a lot of things," Tsitsipas said about his calm and composed demeanour despite falling back in the match. "Nothing was going through my head. I was so much -- how would I describe myself? Nirvana.

"I was thinking a little bit, but I was mainly focused on each single serve, each single shot. I think at the very third set I changed few things. I changed my patterns. I maybe took a little bit more time. I think that helped. I wanted to stay in the court a bit longer.

"I just played more flawless. I really didn't care, honestly. I played with no care, and that increased the level of tennis that I put out there."

Nadal, who remains tied with Roger Federer for 20 Grand Slam titles, committed some uncharacteristic errors at the beginning of the tiebreak in the third set allowing Tsitsipas a foothold into the match.

Tsitsipas raised his level and made the 34-year-old Spaniard pay dearly.

"I don't know why I just woke up today and I felt really relaxed and I just felt like things are going to go my way. I don't know how to explain it," he said. "I was very serene during the match, regardless if it was the first set or the fifth one.

"Maybe, I don't know, the absence of the crowd kept me like this. I'm not even sure. I'm trying to analyse it myself, but I'm very proud of the attitude that I showed."

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