Tsitsipas rooting for Alcaraz after quarter-final exit

Greek No.5 seed is backing youth over experience in the last four

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roland-Garros 2023, quarter-final© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Simon Cambers

Stefanos Tsitsipas said he would be pulling for Carlos Alcaraz in the rest of the tournament after he was well-beaten by the Spaniard in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros on Tuesday.

The Greek was thoroughly outplayed by the 20-year-old in the first two sets and though he came back from 2-5 down and saved five match points, he couldn’t prevent the world No.1 from clinching a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(5) victory.

The result means Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will go head-to-head in the semi-finals on Friday and Tsitsipas said he would be supporting Alcaraz for the rest of the week.

“I root for the young kids,” Tsitsipas said. “He played great. I mean, I don't think he played exceptional, but he played great.”

Asked to compare the challenge of facing Djokovic, who beat him in the final at Roland-Garros in 2021, and Alcaraz, Tsitsipas said “one has experience, the other one has legs and moves like Speedy Gonzalez".

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roland-Garros 2023, quarter-final© Julien Crosnier/FFT

“One can hit huge, super big shots; and the other one prefers control over anything else, probably control and precision, to apply pressure and just make the opponent move as much as possible.

“I'm not good at predictions, so I'll stay away from it. But let's see. Let the best player win.”

Tsitsipas said he made a mistake in taking a sleeping pill in the build-up to the match.

“One thing that I'm going to try to avoid in the future is have melatonin pills and naps before matches because it clearly doesn't seem to be working," he said.

Tsitsipas said he had been struggling with sleep over the past week.

“Schedule has been a little bit difficult the last few days,” said the 24-year-old. “I had some late-night sessions. Not super late, but late enough for me to kind of have my sleep schedule ruined, in a way.

“Sleep is a very vital important thing, and recovery is the most important thing when competing and playing big Slams like this.

“So I've made the mistake in the past before playing Novak in Bercy one year, and I had the exact same score as I did in those first two sets. So I feel like melatonin really likes 1 and 2.”

But Tsitsipas said he did not want to take anything away from Alcaraz.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roland-Garros 2023, quarter-finals© Julien Crosnier/FFT

“The kid plays well," he said. "He deserves to win and everything. Let's just not talk about it. I'm really bummed about it, that it had such an effect on me, and let's move on.

The Greek admitted he was disappointed with his performance.

“Do I feel affected right now? A little bit. Well, I guess it's normal. It means I care, no? It would be bad if I didn't. I care a lot," said Tsitsipas, who had never lost a Grand Slam quarter-final before Tuesday (was 6-0 at that stage in the majors).

“Tennis means a lot to me, and these days are never fun to be experiencing.

“I'm just happy to be playing tennis. It wasn't really that much fun out there in the first two sets. I felt completely off, kind of like sleeping in a way. I just wish it never happens again. It sucks.”