Australian Open rival's tip for Stefanos Tsitsipas to beat Novak Djokovic

Karen Khachanov left reporters amused after revealing how Stefanos Tsitsipas can beat Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

Pictured left to right, 2023 Australian Open men's finalists Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is aiming to become the first player in history to beat Novak Djokovic in the final of an Australian Open. Pic: Getty

Karen Khachanov has left reporters in stitches after revealing how Stefanos Tsitsipas can achieve what no other player has done before: beating Novak Djokovic in the final of an Australian Open. Tsitsipas downed Khachanov in four sets to advance into Sunday night's decider against nine-time champion Djokovic, who trounced America's Tommy Paul in straight sets in the other semi-final.

Djokovic will go into Sunday's decider at Melbourne Park having never lost a match at the Australian Open when he has made it to the last-four. The Serb has a perfect 19-0 record from his semi-finals and final appearances at the Australian Open, with Tsitsipas needing to rewrite history in order to win his first grand slam title on Sunday.

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It's little wonder that Djokovic goes into the final as a heavy favourite, with the No.1 world ranking on the line for the winner. Djokovic can also equal Rafael Nadal's all-time record of men's grand slam singles titles if he does what many expect, and claims a 22nd major trophy in Melbourne.

Speaking in his press conference after being eliminated in the semi-finals by Tsitsipas, Russia's Khachanov offered the Greek a hilarious piece of advice about how he could potentially defeat Djokovic. Khachanov said the answer could lie with his compatriot Daniil Medvedev, who famously denied Djokovic a calendar-year Grand Slam by beating the Serb in straight sets in the 2021 US Open final.

"I think Stefanos also beat him, right, one or two times, I don't remember, to be honest with you," Khachanov told reporters about the Greek star's prospects for the final.

"Obviously, in a grand slam, I think nobody from this generation has beaten him, except Daniil (Medvedev), I think in the US Open final. Maybe Stefanos has to call Daniil to ask him what he did that day."

Djokovic has already been accused of playing mind games against Tsitsipas earlier in the tournament, when he incorrectly asserted that the Greek had not played in a grand slam final before. The best part about Djokovic's lapse is that the Serb beat him in the final of the 2021 French Open.

"Being the only guy remaining in the tournament that has won a grand slam, of course flatters me but I don't think it's going to make too big of a difference, to be honest," Djokovic told reporters before his quarter-final victory. "Maybe it will to some extent, I mean, for me, but maybe not for the other guys.

"I don't know. I know Tsitsipas, for example, probably the most experienced guy out all of them, all the quarter-finalists. He has played already the final stages of a grand slam quite a few times. I think he has never played a finals, am I wrong?" Djokovic said before being corrected by journalists.

"That's right. That's right. Sorry, my bad. What I wanted to say is I wanted to compliment him because he's someone that looks ready to go for the title, and the way he has been playing, he's been coming closer and closer," Djokovic added.

From right to left, winner Novak Djokovic and runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas holding their silverware after the 2021 French Open final.
Novak Djokovic beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the 2021 French Open. Pic: Getty

Novak Djokovic giving little away before Aus Open final

The Serb ramped up the mind games again after his semi-final victory on Friday night after being asked by Jim Courier how his troublesome hamstring and his body was holding up. The 35-year-old appeared to be struggling and in some discomfort at various stages of the straight-sets win against Paul, but seemed to be re-vitalised after his team provided him with an energy drink midway through the contest.

However, when quizzed by Courier about his conditioning after the match, Djokovic was determined not to give anything away to his final opponent. "It's great, it's perfect, it's 110 per cent," Djokovic said with a cheeky smile as fans inside Rod Laver Arena laughed.

"OK, Stefanos, turn your TV off," Courier joked, determined to get an honest response from the Serb. "Stefanos, turn the volume down. Turn away. "All right, give us the real answer," he probed.

Djokovic wasn't done toying with his next opponent after saying: "Stefanos, see you in two days." Amid more laughter from fans at Melbourne Park, the 35-year-old finally opened up about how his physical state.

"No, look, of course you're not as fresh as at the beginning of the tournament. That's for sure," Djokovic admitted. "But we put in a lot of hours throughout the off-season, weeks, in our fitness and on the tennis court , a lot of work in order to be in a good enough ... condition to play best-of-five.

"I know what's expected of me. I've been in this situation so many times before in my career and I think experience helps also. But obviously on the court, moment to moment, point to point, it's a great battle, first of all with yourself and then of course the opponent, so you don't have much time between the points.

"So, some long rallies — you could really feel them. We both had heavy legs, I think, in the first set. I was really fortunate to kind of hold my nerves towards the end of the first set. I'm just really pleased to get through another final."

with agencies

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