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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 March 2019

Dubai Tennis Final: Stefanos Tsitsipas proud of efforts despite falling short to Roger Federer

The Greek blames mental tiredness for his straight sets loss at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium

Stefanos Tsitsipas has said he will reflect on his Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign with a great deal of satisfaction despite losing the final 6-4, 6-4 to Roger Federer on Saturday.

Tsitsipas arrived in Dubai immediately after winning the second title of his career at the Marseille Open last Sunday, while his victory in Friday’s semi-final over Gael Monfils ensured the 20-year-old Greek broke into the world’s top-10 for the first time.

Winning back-to-back titles was always going to be a tough task, even for someone as talented as Tsitsipas and particularly with Federer motivated by the prospect of his 100th ATP Tour title.

In the end, Tsitspas was made to pay for a slow start when he was broken in the first game, while Federer was ruthless in taking the only break point of the second set en route to victory.

Naturally disappointed to lose the final, Tsitsipas - who beat Federer in an epic four-set battle at the Australian Open in January - admitted he was pleased the player he grew up idolising had reached a century of titles.

“Just strange,” Tsitsipas said when asked how he was feeling. “I really want to win my first 500 title. I've been trying hard. I'm a bit sad that I didn't manage to do it now.

“I’m actually pretty happy for him, as well. I know he has worked very hard to get there. I mean, I didn't want to give it to him, but I'm happy that he has achieved what he achieved.

“In a way I'm satisfied that I managed to get to the final because the conditions were really difficult compared to Marseille. Coming back outdoors after getting used to playing all my matches in indoor conditions, I'm pretty happy and satisfied that I managed to make the final.

“I had points to defend since last year, and I'm grateful that I managed to earn more points than I actually had to defend, and that I cracked into the top 10 for the first time.”

Tsitsipas revealed after the semi-final that he was struggling with a back problem, which was causing enough pain he contemplated pulling out of the tournament. However, he insisted that it was mental tiredness, more so than physical, that contributed to his defeat to Federer.

“That's why I start missing those forehands that I never miss,” he said. “The brain sometimes cannot cope.”

It’s another quick turnaround for Tsitsipas, who makes his way to California for the Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells, where he will once again proudly represent his country.

“I'm actually really proud for Greece because Greece is not known for its tennis history, any tennis moments,” he said. “I'm very proud that I'm Greek. Representing those colours, representing this flag, it's the biggest honour.”

Updated: March 2, 2019 10:20 PM

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