“Grew Up Watching Him Play”: Stefanos Tsitsipas Lauds Rafael Nadal Ahead of Australian Open 2021 Clash

Published 02/16/2021, 6:30 AM EST
LONDON, ENGLAND -: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece embrace at the net after their singles match during Day Six of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)


Former World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open tomorrow. Both players have played exceptionally well to reach this stage of the tournament.

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In the previous round, Stefanos got a walkover as Italian player Matteo Berrettini pulled out, whereas Nadal beat another Italian, Fabio Fognini. 

Nadal played against Tsitsipas 7 times in the past. In those matches, the Spaniard emerged victorious on 6 occasions and the Greek registered a win just once.

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Surprisingly, the one time Stefanos beat Rafa was in the semifinal of the Madrid Masters in 2019, which was played on a clay court. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Michael Mmoh of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Stefanos Tsitsipas: “Every match against Rafael Nadal is an experience of a lifetime”

Recently, the Greek star praised his next round opponent Rafael Nadal and stated, “I have great respect for Nadal, I grew up watching him play.

“Every match against him is an experience of a lifetime. It will a chance for me to show where I am as a player, a big challenge. It will be an amazing match.”

The last time they played each other was at the 2020 ATP Finals in London. The match went the distance, and the Spaniard won in three sets.

The situation will be different tomorrow, as Rafa suffered from a back injury during the early stages of the tournament. However, he stated that he felt better during the previous round win. 

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his third round match against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

During the tournament, Nadal won all his matches in straight sets, whereas Tsitsipas’ match against Kokkinakis got settled after the fifth set. It gives Rafa an advantage since he has spent less time on the court as compared to Stefanos. 

The one and only time these players have met in a Grand Slam event were at the Australian Open 2019. During that match, Nadal demolished Tsitsipas. The Greek star managed to win only six games during the match and failed to win a single game in the last set. 

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Rohan Kollare

579 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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