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'I'm born a champion...': Tsitsipas in his classy Australian Open runner-up speech


Melbourne, Jan 30
Falling short in a winner-takes-all contest to be crowned not only with a maiden Australian Open title but also as world No.1, Stefanos Tsitsipas was eager to take the positives from his Australian Open run after losing to Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.

The Greek, who would have climbed to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings with victory, produced a series of impressive performances in Melbourne, leaving him confident that a maiden major title and the No. 1 ranking are close.

"I'm just happy that I'm in another Grand Slam final. Of course, I was dreaming about the trophy, lifting that trophy. I even dreamt it last night in my sleep. The desire is really there. I really, really want it badly," said Tsitsipas.

"But just dreaming about it won't make it happen. You got to act. You got to do something out there. You got to be present even more and do better. It is definitely much better playing finals than being stuck behind in the semi-finals. I'll take that for sure. I just need to take that one more step where I can consistently lift trophies and win Slams and Masters 1000 events."

No challenger since Hyeon Chung in 2018 has denied Djokovic at Melbourne Park. A Victory on Sunday's final would have made Tsitsipas the first top-10 player since Swiss player Stan Wawrinka in 2014 to beat the Serbian at his most successful major.

"Today was my opportunity to be a world No.1. I had a better opponent on the other side of the net who did things much better than me. He deserves that spot currently," Tsitsipas said.

"What I can say is being on the tour for a few years now, I get a lot of different experiences, I get a lot of different things that I'm faced with. It's my time to aim for something like this. I don't see any reason to be lowering my expectations or my goals.

"I am born a champion. I can feel it in my blood. I can feel it as a competitive kid that I was when I was young. It's something that is within me."

Despite falling short, Tsitsipas left with high praise for Djokovic whose triumph drew him level with Rafael Nadal on 22 major titles.

"He is the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet," Tsitsipas told the Rod Laver Arena crowd. "Novak is a player that pushes you to your limits. I don't see this as a curse. I don't see this as annoying. This is very good for the sport, to have competitors like him, to have champions like him. He has made me a much better player."