Nadal Not Surprised By Tsitsipas’ SF Run
Stefanos Tsitsipas has surprised thousands of fans – especially those of Roger Federer – and even himself during his run to the Australian Open semi-finals. But he hasn’t shocked Rafael Nadal, whom Tsitsipas will face in tonight’s final-four matchup.
Nadal, who has beaten the #NextGenATP Greek twice, saw this type of performance coming from the No. 15 player in the ATP Rankings.
“His rise? It doesn’t surprise me because before the season started we predicted who was going to be in the Top 10, like we do every year, and I predicted that he would finish in the Top 10,” Nadal said.
“It’s logical that the young players are improving, and they are well prepared mentally.
“There are a lot of people that can play well, lots of other young players and others not so young who are also playing very well. Tsitsipas has started the year well and is playing with confidence. He has earned his spot in the semi-finals, and it will be a difficult match.”
The World No. 2 beat Tsitsipas in two finals last year – the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on clay and the Coupe Rogers on hard.
“I felt very close to beating him in Toronto, though the score was 6-2, 7-6,” said Tsitsipas, who’s playing in his maiden Slam semi-final. “I remember coming back to the locker room and promising to myself, ‘I’m going to do much better against him next time.’ It felt like I understood a bit better what he was doing on the court after that match, and especially on hard court.
“It’s going to be interesting. I feel all right with my game. I feel like I can do something good against him.”
Nadal, despite not playing a tour-level match before the season’s first Slam, has won all 15 sets he’s played and is into his sixth Australian Open semi-final and 30th at any Slam.
“I didn’t come here thinking things would go badly. If I go out there thinking that I haven’t played for four months, things won’t go well for me, I’ll lose. No, I’m here to compete,” Nadal said.
“Of course, if before the tournament someone had told me that I’d be where I am without having lost a single set, it would have surprised me. Maybe I am where I am because every day I’ve played at the level I had to to advance, every day I’ve improved.
“I’m not spending all day thinking about what I expect from myself; the only thing I’m expecting is that I do my best day in, day out, with the right attitude and trusting that things will go well.”