French Open runner-up Tsitsipas says he learned a lesson
PARIS (AP) - When Stefanos Tsitsipas' first Grand Slam final was over, he sank into his changing chair and buried his head in a towel.
Novak Djokovic has this effect on his opponents.
Tsitsipas built a big lead and seemed on the way to a surprise win at the French Open, but Djokovic made an unlikely comeback, winning his 19th major title on Sunday, 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6- 3, 6- 2, 6-4.
"What I learned today is that you have to win three sets, not two," said Tsitsipas. "Two sentences don't really mean anything."
Not against Djokovic, who overcame a two-set deficit for the second time in the tournament and for the sixth time in his career. After the second set he took a toilet break and then dominated without hitting a breakpoint in the last three sets.
"I don't know what happened there, but he suddenly came back like a different player," said Tsitsipas. “He played really well. He left me no space. "
The turnaround was surprising, because Tsitsipas is 12 years younger than Djokovic at the age of 22 and the Greek seemed to be the fresher player in the first two sets.
Djokovic said he was prepared for Tsitsipas to get off to a good start.
"You are playing for your first Grand Slam trophy, but you don't have much to lose," said Djokovic. "So I knew he would probably start very well, which it did."
But while Djokovic found his form and moved better as the game progressed, Tsitsipas's game slipped. His basic lines became less penetrating, and he ended up with a tired expression.
“I had the feeling that my rhythm wasn't right; I really don't know why, ”said Tsitsipas. “It was very strange considering that at the beginning I found my rhythm, found my strokes and my movements on the pitch were perfect. And suddenly I just felt cold and beside myself. I felt like I lost my game a little. I really wish I could understand why. "
Tsitsipas was treated for a hip problem after the third set, but dismissed as a factor.
He was the youngest men's finalist at Roland Garros since Rafael Nadal won the title in 2008 and tried to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam title.
"Despite my loss today, I have confidence in my game," said Tsitsipas. “I firmly believe that I can reach this point very soon. I was close today. "
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