"But I haven't had [this kind of injury] before, so I don't know. It's my first time experiencing something like this," Stefanos Tsitsipas remarked after playing his doubles game at the ATP Cup in Sydney days ago.
The discomfort was there and the young Greek knew that his singles game would be more of a challenge. It was just a few months ago Tsitsipas went up against elbow surgery. The return to the courts at the ATP Cup was bittersweet.
He was glad to return there but with an opponent like the invincible Diego Schwartzman, his chances for a win was uncertain. The young Greek manage to squeak out a win in the opening tiebreak set, but the battle was two-fold as the Argentine was the healthier man, who blasted strokes with defiance at a painful Tsitsipas.
It wasn't a regular day at the courts for the Greek was fighting many battles in an arena he used to tackle at times effortlessly. He would lose his round in singles but returning fit for the Australian Open was a more complicated story.
Tsitsipas' opponent came in the more confident guy and said the Daily Mail media: "I was just trying to think that it was his first match for two months after his elbow [injury]...I had the chance and I think I was ready.
I am very happy because playing against Stefanos...is not easy." The first match back from surgery had proven to the Greek of a need for more rest and recuperation time. "I'm in a little bit of pain. That's normal.
I served more...than I have ever...in the last month," he said honestly. But the 7-6, 3-6, 3-6 loss pushed the Greek into his place of knowing what he can do and can't. "There was fatigue at the end, but you know.
I tried to avoid the pain," he'd say. The idea of now having any or just manageable pain would be a great platform to play and do his best. He knows too that this isn't easy. Stefanos Tsitsipas hasn't had it great in the last half of the season when most tournaments entered he fell during the opening or second rounds.
The last grand slam, the U.S. Open saw Tsitsipas battle with the 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz Garfia to be defeated in 5 tough sets. The Australian Open starts on January 17th. Tsitsipas is contemplating how the situation will play out.
Will he be fully recuperated by then? Or will he even try to participate at all? The Greeks' last go was successful in going deep into the quarterfinals but fall to Russia's Daniil Medvedev. Tsitsipas' next round is in a few more days with another Russian, Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The last time they played was this past Indian Wells and the Russian won. But the Greek is a fighter and will give it a try in Melbourne. He gets real and says "..I think if I take the right precautions...I can see myself performing at 100 per cent at the Australian Open."