GR Sports Desk | New Delhi
Defending champion Roger Federer crashed out of the Australian Open 2019 after losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 in the men’s singles on Sunday. The 20-year-old Tsitsipas became the first Grand Slam quarterfinalists from Greece with the win and is now headed to the next round of the tournament.
In the thrilling match spanning over two hours, the 20-time grand slam champion failed at creating a hat-trick in the tournament and becoming the oldest man to reach the quarterfinals since Ken ‘Muscles’ Rosewell. In the course of the match, Federer took 12 break points without succeeding at any of them.
Apart from Federer, Maria Sharapova also saw an early exit from the tournament after losing to Ashleigh Barty earlier in the day. This was Federer’s sixth early exit from a grand slam tournament.
“I am the happiest man on Earth right now. Roger is a legend in our sport. I have so much respect for him he showed such good tennis. I have idolised him since the age of six. It was a dream come true for me just to be on Rod Laver facing him and winning against him I cannot describe it,” said an emotional Tsitsipas following the match.
“I lost to a better player who was playing very well tonight. Hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm. It’s not always easy, especially for younger guys. Credit to him for taking care of that,” Federer said. Acknowledging the comparisons between the oldest and the youngest player, Federer added, “He has a one-handed backhand and I used to have long hair, too. Yeah, so maybe a little bit, sure. He has more of a continental grip than players nowadays. Sure, that’s a bit more my way than, let’s say Rafa”.
Federer had made a major comeback about a year ago in the Australian Open 2018 and went on to lift the coveted trophy in a finals clash with Rafael Nadal.