MELBOURNE: A shellshocked Stefanos Tsitsipas was at a loss to explain his performance after being completely outclassed by Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-final on Friday.
The 20-year-old conqueror of Roger Federer could not believe he won just six games in his first Grand Slam semi-final, humiliated in 106 minutes 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.
Rampaging bull Nadal has brushed opponents aside at will in Melbourne this year, shattering the dreams of three NextGen stars in a massive statement that the 32-year-old 17-times Grand Slam champion is back fit and firing.
“Honestly, I have no idea what I can take from that match,” a despondent Tsitsipas said.
“I wasn’t even close to getting something. I only got six games from that match,” added the 14th seed, who has now gone deeper into a Slam than any other Greek player in history.
Tsitsipas has lost all three of his matches against Nadal, but said this was something different against a man who has not dropped a set in cruising into a final against Lucas Pouille or Novak Djokovic, who play Friday.
“He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players,” said the bewildered Greek, who pulled off the win of his life to knock out Federer in four sets in the last 16.
“He has this, I don’t know, talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad. I don’t know. I would call that a talent.”
On a searing night with the roof open, the temperature was hovering close to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) at start of play but Tsitsipas said it was his mind that had boiled away in the heat.
“I would say I was mentally not in the match so much. I felt kind of empty in my brain, which is strange, because I never feel like this when I’m in the match.
“I really wanted badly to wake up. I felt like my reaction time was very slow. I’m trying to understand what was going wrong today.”
Tsitsipas said he would go away and keep working hard to analyse what went wrong.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again. I really hope it doesn’t. It’s nice to have wins against these kinds of players, top four,” he said.
“I mean, it’s not that I don’t want it. I really want it badly. But I’ve got to want it a bit more than I want it at the moment.
“I had good matches. But I’m really disappointed today because, again, I feel like I could get closure and prove myself a little bit more, not let him dominate the entire match. Just felt wrong.”