Tsitsipas vows to return a 'stronger person' after French Open heartbreak

Paris (AFP) –

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Stefanos Tsitsipas pledged to learn from his five-set loss to world number one Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals on Friday and use it as inspiration to become a "stronger person".

The Greek fifth seed saved a match point in the third set and forced the 17-time Grand Slam champion into a decider before going down 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 after almost four hours.

"I guess a loss is a very good lesson where life puts a stop at what you're doing. You can reflect on that. You can grow. You can get better," said Tsitsipas.

"You can take that loss and turn it around, use it as a life lesson to move forward, to become a stronger person."

The 22-year-old was playing in just his second Grand Slam semi-final, having also reached the last four of the 2019 Australian Open.

"I feel, I can say, happy and at the same time sad. Could have been a better result for me today," said Tsitsipas, last year's ATP Finals champion.

"Novak showed once again what an incredible athlete and his ability on the courts. Was difficult, for sure, playing him. I think one of the most difficult opponents I've faced in my entire life."

Tsitsipas had rallied from two sets down in the opening round to defeat Jaume Munar but came up short after falling into a similar hole against Djokovic.

"I had an amazing comeback. I wish I could have figured certain things earlier," he said, adding it was a "huge mistake" trying to implement new elements he had been working on in practice into his game.

"Unfortunately towards the end of the match an injury that I had during my match in Rome came back. It was difficult to close the match in a fighting way."