Tsitsipas delighted with progress despite Schwartzman defeat

SYDNEY: World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said he was pleased with his performance in his defeat by Diego Schwartzman at the ATP Cup in Sydney on Monday, telling reporters he was headed in the right direction since undergoing elbow surgery in November.

The Greek, who pulled out of his singles rubber against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz at the weekend as a precautionary measure, was made to toil by Schwartzman in a 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3 loss that lasted nearly three hours.

Tsitsipas, however, said that he enjoyed the battle against the gritty Argentine and there were several positives from the match.

"It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn't expect it. It worked out better than I thought. I was able to hit balls that I was scared to hit two weeks ago, so I'm heading towards the right direction," said the 23-year-old.

"I enjoyed it despite losing again. I enjoyed fighting. I enjoyed the thrill of it. I enjoyed the atmosphere that the people created."

Schwartzman's performance was followed by victory in the doubles for Argentina, who swept to a 3-0 win against Greece.

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Tsitsipas added that he was in some pain but expected to be fully fit for the Australian Open, where he made the semi-finals in 2019 and 2021.

"I'm in a little bit of pain. That's normal. I served more serves than I have ever served in the last month," he said. "I have been practising, trying to get 50, 60 serves in, and today I really went far."

"It gets better and better every single day almost … and I think if I take the right precautions and follow what my doctor says, then I can see myself performing at 100 per cent at the Australian Open."

The year's first major gets underway in Melbourne on Jan 17.

Artmotion Asia

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