Rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted that it was painful to win only several games against Spain's Rafael Nadal in last year's Australian Open semifinal but that loss humbled him and made him work harder.
Tsitsipas, ranked at No. 6 in the world, didn't enjoy a memorable maiden Grand Slam semifinal as world No. 2 Nadal dominated the Greek 6-2 6-4 6-0 to set up a 2019 Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic. The 21-year-old Greek absolutely stood no chance against Nadal as the 19-time Grand Slam champion claimed six breaks and never lost his serve en route to claiming a comfortable win in three sets.
The Nadal loss helped Tsitsipas going forward as the Greek won it all at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world before the 2019 season ended. "Tough losses are important for my career as they make me want to come back stronger, and without them I feel like I’m perfect: which I’m not,” Tsitsipas told the ATP Tour.
“They are crucial for everyone. That semi-final loss was painful, even though it was in three sets. I came so close to reaching a Grand Slam final, something I have always dreamed of doing. I also didn’t deliver much in that match, he played well.
It was a shame, as I’d played well in the two weeks. I went back to the court two days [later] and started to improve."