World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas says one of his 2021 goals is to beat Rafa Nadal on clay, although he admits the Spaniard is his toughest opponent.
The Greek star is currently quarantining in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open and is hoping to land a big title this year, with his sights set on one in particular.
“A really good goal would be maybe to beat Rafa [Nadal] on clay, or at Roland-Garros, that would be a really nice goal” Tsitsipas told rolandgarros.com.
“I think everyone would love that, especially me. He’s such a difficult player to play against, very difficult, very consistent, incredible fighting spirit.
“I consider myself a fighter but he’s completely next level, incomparable. That would be a realistic, I hope, goal, not too much to ask.”
Tsitsipas revealed that although each of the Big Three poses a different challenge, he considers Nadal to be his toughest opponent.
“They don’t call Rafa the most difficult player to beat accidentally, there is something behind it” Tsitsipas added.
“For me personally, he has a very heavy ball and he is just anticipating very well, very good movement on the court as well.
“He spins, his agility on the court is very impressive and the way he fights, he’s just never going to give up, that makes him very very difficult.”
Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals of last year’s French Open at Roland Garros, his best performance to date, in a five-set thriller against Novak Djokovic.
Unfortunately a leg injury hindered play in the deciding set, but Tsitsipas says he is encouraged by his performance and attitude and hopes he can take that into the season ahead.
“It was sad that it ended that way. But at the same time I’m proud because I fought very, very hard.
“I was the determined Stefanos, I was the Stefanos that went out and was fully focused and committed to my work, and to my craft. So that was excellent” says Tsitsipas.
“That was a very, very good tournament, I really hope I have more like this in the future, and maybe a little bit more luck, that wouldn’t hurt.”
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