He’s probably the most best possible gamers on the planet, however Stefanos Tsitsipas felt like a child on the contemporary Laver Cup in London. With Roger Federer taking part in the remaining fit of his profession in doubles along Rafael Nadal, the 24-year Greek nervously approached the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion for a slice of historical past.
“It would mean the world to me if I could have one of your racquets,” Tsitsipas mentioned to Federer. “I’ve been following you since I was three years old. If I could have a racquet to frame and put in my house, to share that with you is extremely special to me. I hope you don’t mind giving me that piece of your identity.”
Federer graciously presented up probably the most 340-gram Wilson Pro Staff RF97s from his bag.
“Obviously, he agreed,” Tsitsipas mentioned this week on the Astana Open. “Look, Roger was an idol of mine growing up. It would have been wrong not to get something from his last match. He was very nice, and I sleep with it from time to time.”
He would possibly had been joking — nevertheless it used to be unattainable to understand evidently. Tsitsipas is hoping that brush with greatness as a member of Team Europe will raise him in opposition to the end line of the 2022 season. He used to be the fourth participant to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, following Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud.
On Wednesday, he complex to the quarter-finals in Kazakhstan, successful two tight tie-breaks in opposition to 19-year-old Italian qualifier Luca Nardi. After his 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) victory, Tsitsipas warmly congratulated Nardi, who had gained his first tour-level fit within the first around in opposition to qualifier Alexander Shevchenko.
That offers the Greek famous person 51 victories in 2022, one at the back of ATP Tour chief and World No. 1 Alcaraz. Tsitsipas can equivalent that general with a victory in Friday’s quarter-final in opposition to 7th seed Hubert Hurkacz.
Before the development started, Tsitsipas used to be requested if shared similarities with Hurkacz, the easy-going Polish participant.
“I am pretty loud on social media, though,” Tsitsipas mentioned, relating to his prolific posts on Instagram (1.7 million fans) and Twitter. “I’m pretty quiet in real life, but I like to share some opinions here and there. I would say we’re on the quiet side, I would say he keeps everything to himself, extremely talented.”
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It’s been an ideal yr for Tsitsipas, a first-round winner in Astana in opposition to Mikhail Kukushkin. He reached the semi-finals on the Australian Open, shedding to Daniil Medvedev. Then he gained the ATP Masters 1000 identify in Monte Carlo and reached two different Masters 1000 finals, in Rome (l. to Djokovic) and Cincinnati (l. to Coric). He additionally gained at the grass in Mallorca, the 9th identify of his younger profession.
For Tsitsipas, the ones Laver Cup feelings carried over way past Federer’s last fit.
“I was crying that night,” Tsitsipas mentioned. “The maximum sudden factor used to be how emotional I used to be the morning after. You would assume the entirety could be let loose. But I used to be in complete tears in my breakfast within the morning.
“You see all the beautiful moments go by — I think that’s what you take the most when you share Roger’s amazing retirement. I don’t think you could do it any better with his teammates. I wish one day my retirement can be like that.”