Stefanos Tsitsipas paid the ultimate tribute to Novak Djokovic by calling him the greatest player to ever hold a tennis racquet after their 2023 Australian Open final clash.
Djokovic won his 10th title at the Australian Open by beating the Greek 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final on Sunday, January 29. The Serb also equaled Rafael Nadal's tally of 22 Grand Slam singles titles while returning to the top of the ATP rankings.
In his runner-up speech, Tsitispas congratulated Djokovic and his family on the win and stated that the Serb made him a better player.
"Novak, I don't know what to say, I mean, I think it speaks for itself, what you have achieved so far. It's all in the numbers. Congratulations, not only to yourself but to having such a supportive family, I think it is very similar to the way we grow up around tennis," the Greek said.
"It's been an unbelievable journey for you, I admire what you have done for our sport. I think you make me a better player when I am on the court, so thank you," he added.
Tsitsipas had a very special tribute reserved for Djokovic as he called him the "greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet."
"I'd like to thank you for pushing our sport so far. I think it deserves a player like you that pushes every single player, every single individual that is involved with the sport," he added.
Today on his Facebook page Tsitsipas wrote
Hardships are a reminder of our inner strength and resilience. They test our values and push us to grow. Our opponents play a crucial role in this journey, as they challenge us to up our game and become the best version of ourselves.
Tennis is more than just a sport, it's a lifestyle that teaches us to overcome obstacles and embrace challenges.
Thank you Australia and its fans for lighting up Melbourne Park and inspiring us to strive for greatness.