World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas told Roger Federer at the Laver Cup that it "would mean the world" to him if he gave him one of his rackets. Tsitsipas, who represented Team Europe at the Laver Cup, posted a picture on his social media, which showed him sleeping next to a signed Federer racket.
At this week's Astana Open, Tsitsipas was asked to explain how he ended up with a signed Federer racket.
“It would mean the world to me if I could have one of your rackets. I’ve been following you since I was three years old. If I could have a racquet to frame and put in my house, to share that with you is extremely special to me.
I hope you don’t mind giving me that piece of your identity," Tsitsipas said to Federer, per the ATP website.
Tsitsipas: Federer was my idol
Tsitsipas, 24, grew up watching and idolizing Federer. Since Federer was a big part of his childhood and inspired him to be a tennis pro, Tsitsipas wanted something from Federer's final tournament.
“Obviously, he agreed. Look, Roger was an idol of mine growing up. It would have been wrong not to get something from his last match. He was very nice, and I sleep with it from time to time," Tsitsipas added. On the night Federer played his final match, Tsitsipas was very emotional.
But Tsitsipas was surprised that he was very emotional the morning after too. “I was crying that night. The most surprising thing was how emotional I was the morning after. You would think everything would be let out. But I was in full tears in my breakfast in the morning.
You see all the beautiful moments go by — I think that’s what you take the most when you share Roger’s amazing retirement. I don’t think you could do it any better with his teammates. I wish one day my retirement can be like that”.