By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday April 25, 2021
Stefanos Tsitsipas came within a whisker of earning his third win over Rafael Nadal on Sunday at the Barcelona Open (and his second on clay). With Nadal facing championship point and serving at 4-5, 30-40 in the third set, he was forced out wide on his backhand side to defend against a powerful inside-in forehand by the Greek.
Nadal’s backhand reply would clip the tape and the point would continue, with Nadal eventually forcing a Tsitsipas backhand error, and from there the Spaniard would claim the final three games to clinch his 12th Barcelona Open title, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5.
After the final Tsitsipas took it in stride. His reply? Sh** happens.
“I felt I could have pulled off better tennis today, but I’m happy that I brought him so close,” Tsitsipas told reporters in his post-match press conference. “I was a match point up I think, you know, sh** happens. … I was literally two centimetres away from winning that match.”
Tsitsipas said he has no regrets, but admitted that maybe luck just wasn’t on his side on Sunday.
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) April 25, 2021
“I felt like I had it for some reason, you know it was that sensation that I can get that one,” Tsitsipas said. “His second serve wasn’t the most aggressive one, I think I did the right choice there, I went to the right place, I hardly believe I would have gone inside-out there, but it was the right decision, and I just got a bit unlucky, and I would say I started thinking after that net, like ‘what a shame’, couldn’t close at that point. It’s always tough when you get to these moments and you find yourself battling against stuff like this, it’s never easy, obviously mental strength is important but details like this matter sometimes. Luck as well, today I think also has a lot to do with luck, definitely.”
Asked if he found Nadal’s competitive spirit and all that he has achieved inspiring, Tsitsipas was quick to say yes.
“Yeah for sure, it is. I haven’t seen anyone fight like this,” he said. “He makes my life really difficult on court, but whenever I’m there to accept it, to accept those terms and play based on his desire to fight, it also kind of makes me a better player, and I can see myself reaching my limits, so it’s definitely something good to have, for my personal development and growth.”