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Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas will both have extra motivation to beat one another when they meet in the semi-final of the Paris Masters on Saturday. It will be their first match in the French capital since the Greek star suffered heartbreak at the hands of Djokovic in the 2021 Roland Garros final, while the world No 7 will be out for revenge after Tsitsipas’ spicy comments about his Australian visa saga.
Djokovic and Tsitsipas are set to face off for the 11th time on Saturday as they will do battle for a spot in the final of the last Masters 1000 event of the year. They met last month in the final of the Astana Open, where it was the Serb who got a routine straight-sets win to lift the title.
But both men will be out for some revenge in Paris-Bercy as Tsitsipas looks to reverse his fortune against the sixth seed in the French city, while Djokovic can topple the 24-year-old as his comments over the Serb’s vaccine saga re-emerged. At the start of the year, the 35-year-old had his visa cancelled twice and was ultimately deported from Australia over his unvaccinated status.
At the time, the world No 5 hit out at those who were going against the “rules” as he said: “I’d say that it kind of seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of Tennis Australia and the government. A very small group chose to follow their own way and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools or something.”
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While the pair have never directly had beef, the nine-time title winner’s comments came as a dig to the world No 7, who had been able to enter Australia unvaccinated before he was kicked out. And Djokovic currently finds himself waiting to learn whether he can return to the country in January for the first Grand Slam of 2023 as he received an automatic three-year ban from the country as a result of his deportation this year.
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will be playing Djokovic in Paris for the first time since losing to the 21-time Major champion in the 2021 French Open final after leading by two sets to love. The 35-year-old ultimately won 6-7(6) 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 and the world No 5 had continued to reference the match as one of the toughest of his career ever since.
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Speaking to RedBull a few weeks ago, the defeat was still on Tsitsipas’ mind 16 months later as he said: “My defeat against Djokovic at Roland Garros last year made me see that I still have to learn many things to continue improving in the world of tennis. That match has served me well for the next few months. One of the things that I have learned is that I don’t have to be too stubborn and play intense in a Grand Slam final next time.”
Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Tsitsipas by eight wins to two losses. The Greek won two of their first three meetings but has since suffered seven-consecutive losses at the hands of the former world No 1, with his last win coming more than three years ago.
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