Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas grew up idolizing Roger Federer and he was in total disbelief after getting a chance to meet the Swiss for the first time. Tsitsipas, 23, clashed Federer for the first time at the Hopman Cup in 2019.
Federer defeated Tsitsipas in straight sets in their first meeting but the Greek defeated the Swiss when they met two weeks later at the Australian Open. Tsitsipas and Federer clashed three more times, with Tsitsipas winning two of those three meetings.
"I have a lot of respect for him. I enjoyed just watching him on TV. Probably hitting with him on a tennis court would have been a never-in-a-lifetime scenario. When I first faced him, I was about to serve and I was thinking, 'Roger is on the other side of the net'
He is my childhood hero. This is beyond unimaginable. He is someone that is difficult to believe he's real. It's incredible what he has done with all his records and the game-style," Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas looking forward to seeing Federer back
Federer, who underwent a knee surgery last August, is making a good progress in his recovery and hoping to be ready to return to action at the Laver Cup in September.
"Yeah, I quite miss him. He's a very charming person. You know, everyone loves him," said Tsitsipas. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas is excited about the grass season. Grass is considered as Tsitsipas' weakest surface but the Greek acknowledged that it is a surface with a big tradition and that he would love to make some strong results on it.
"Lawn tennis is living history. If we think back, the beginnings of great tennis history date back to the lawn tournaments in Europe," Tsitsipas said. Tsitsipas kicked off his grass season in Stuttgart last week, where he reached the quarterfinal before losing to Andy Murray.
Tsitsipas is now playing at this week's ATP event in Halle, where he is hoping to do better than in Stuttgart.