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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 March 2019

Dubai Tennis Final: Stefanos Tsitsipas admits will be 'tough' to be fully fit to face Roger Federer due to back injury

The No 5 seed considered retiring such was the problem during semi-final win over Gael Monfils, with the 20 year old being tactical on when he pushed himself

Stefanos Tsitsipas has admitted he will be struggling to be at 100 per cent fitness to face Roger Federer in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final on Saturday.

The 20-year-old dealt with a back injury during his 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 semi-final win over Gael Monfils on Friday, and he said being able to be ready to face the No 2 seed, who beat Borna Coric in his last-four match, will be a challenge.

"I'm going to have to recover very well for that," he said in his post-match news conference on Friday evening. "It's really tough, trust me."

The No 5 seed and world No 11 acknowledged there had been occasions in the Monfils match that he had been tactical about when he pushed himself to the limit in a match that he won after being a set and a break down.

"I was so tired. I could feel my body. I don't know, I was not expecting much from me, to be honest. I was just playing.

"My main focus was not to go too much. If you would play good shots, usually I would run for them, give 100 per cent. But today I felt like my body will crack if I do that again."

He added he had considered retiring at one stage, such had been the problem.

"My back was hurting a lot when I enter the court. I mean, at some point when I entered, I started feeling this back pain before I started warming up. I thought 'this feels horrible. Maybe I should retire'. It felt really bad. I mean, I never retired in my life, not once, so I didn't want it to happen today.

"I stayed in the court. I said, Ok, maybe serve well, come to the net. As you saw, I was approaching a lot today. I was trying to avoid the rallies from the baseline as much as possible."

Tsitsipas will be in the top 10 in the ATP rankings on Monday for the first time in his career thanks to reaching the final.

He joked when asked what the accomplishment meant to him "sweet and tasty".

Updated: March 2, 2019 12:03 PM

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