‘It was a great battle’ – Novak Djokovic allays fitness fears and pays tribute to Stefanos Tsitsipas

Novak Djokovic says he is in good shape physically ahead of the French Open final as he paid tribute to semi-final opponent Stefanos Tsistipas.

Djokovic was pegged back from two sets and break up by a determined Tsitsipas, who forced a deciding set on Court Philippe Chatrier.

However, despite a lengthy battle in the Paris clay, Djokovic says he has plenty left in the tank for Sunday’s final against Rafael Nadal.

“I’m not feeling exhausted physically so much after tonight’s match, obviously almost four hours.

“It was a great battle but I feel fine. I think a day and a half will be plenty of time for me to recover.

“I’m really looking forward to a great battle with Rafa.”

“It’s going to be interesting to see how his game and my game kind of match up, how it all plays out on Sunday. Depending on what is the temperature as well.

“That affects a lot the court, whether it’s heavy, not bouncing much, slippery, windy.”

Djokovic also reserved special praise for his semi-final opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas, who pushed him all the way in a five-set thriller.

Stefanos Tsitsipas at Roland Garros

“Credit to him for fighting back. He just played terrific tennis, especially in the fourth set when he was facing break points.

“I had many opportunities to break his serve in the fourth and finish the match earlier.”

“He’s a fighter. He’s one of the best players in the world. Deservedly so.

“Obviously he was also fighting for his first Grand Slam final. There was a lot at stake for him. He was motivated to try to turn the match around, which he did very well.

“In the end I think he ran out of gas. That’s when I stepped it up, used my opportunities when they were presented in the fifth, and closed out the match in a great fashion.”

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