By Desk FnF | PUBLISHED: 20, Jan 2019, 20:31 pm IST | UPDATED: 20, Jan 2019, 20:32 pm IST
Desk FnF: Roger Federer out of the Australian Open on Sunday after a 7-6(11), 6-7(3), 5-7, 6-7(5) loss to 20-year old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Rod Laver Arena. Federer was looking for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles in Melbourne but was stopped by a rising tennis star, who was just 6 weeks old when Federer won his first professional match.
Tsitsipas produced a stunning display of tennis in front of a packed house in the Melbourne Arena and forced Federer into making errors. With his power strokes and exceptional and confident net play, Tsitsipas's gritty play earned him the victory.
Despite the fact that Tsitsipas was playing some inspired tennis, the Rod Laver Arena crowd was behind their defending champion and cheered each and every point Federer earned.
"I loved the crowd. I think they were fantastic. That there was an occasional excited guy screaming in the rally, that's okay. I'd rather have it that way than the silent guys who don't make a sound. It was good fun. I enjoyed it."
Federer has always been a fan favourite wherever he goes and as he waved his hand to the crowd while leaving the arena, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
It was a match between the oldest and youngest players left in the men's draw and the old guard fell.
Tsitsipas could not believe that he had toppled Federer, a player he had been idiolising since he was a little child.
"Roger is a legend of our sport, so much of respect for him. He showed such good tennis over the years. I have been idiolising him since the age of 6 and it was just a dream come true being on Rod Laver Arena facing him. Winning at the end, I cannot describe it," Tsitsipas said in the on-court interview after the match.
Roger Federer also confirmed that he is not looking for a long break again and will participate in the French Open this year for the first time since 2015.
For the last two seasons, Federer has been giving the claycourt season a complete miss in order to get ready for the grass and hardcourt season post that.
2019, however, is going to be different. Federer will grace the clay again.
"It's a bit of a desire. I'm in a phase where I want to have fun and I've missed not doing it.
"I don't feel it is necessary to have a big break again," Federer said.
Federer also gave an insight into Tsitsipas's style of play and said a couple of aspects in Tsitsipas's play was similar to his.
"He has a one-handed backhand and I used to have long hair, too," said the world number three.
"Yeah, so maybe a little bit, sure. He has more of a continental grip than players nowadays. That's a bit more my way than, let's say, Rafa's way.
"I see him definitely being high up in the game for a long time. That was a good night for him tonight.
"I have massive regrets, you know, tonight. I might not look the part, but I am. I felt like I have to win the second set.
"I don't care how I do it, but I have to do it. Cost me the game tonight.
"There is always multiple factors that play into a match like this.
"But it definitely didn't go the way I was hoping on the break points. I also didn't break him at the Hopman Cup, so clearly something is wrong how I return him, what I'm trying to do."
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