Stefanos Tsitsipas on his controversies in 2022: I welcome the criticism

It is not always easy being on the receiving end of criticism, but Stefanos Tsitsipas feels it is "essential" as it helps you to "get close" to perfection.

Tsitsipas had an up and down 2022 campaign as he started the year with a run to the semi-final of the Australian Open and then won the Monte-Carlo Masters and Mallorca Championships.

He also finished runner-up at five events, including the Italian Open and Cincinnati Masters, but he made early exits from Wimbledon and the US Open.

There were some controversies as he had multiple run-ins with opponents who felt he was receiving in-match coaching from his father, Apostolos Tsitsipas.

He was also involved in a heated bad-tempered third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon with both players losing their cool during the match.

Tsitsipas at one point smashed a ball into the stands - leading to calls for his disqualification from his opponent - while he described the Australian as a bully after the match.

Naturally he came in for some stick over the season, but the 24-year-old is taking it in his stride.

"Criticism is important - I like receiving it," the world No 4 told RedBull.com.

"When I was younger, I was very sensitive to it, but as I've got older I think it's essential. It's the only way you can achieve perfection. I mean, perfection doesn't really exist, but you can get close.

"That also comes with your attitude to what you do. If you do it with love and care, if you wake up every morning and do the best things to succeed in what you do, with people who are chasing that same dream, anything is possible. With your mind, you can achieve everything you want in life. That's where it all starts. It all starts with an idea."

The name of the game is constant improvement and Tsitsipas highlighted two matches against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open where he mentally took different approaches.

In 2019 he was on the receiving end of a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 drubbing in the season-opening Grand Slam, but two years later he came back from the brink as he produced a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 7-5 comeback win against the Spaniard.

"There were two times when I found myself in the same situation with the same opponent, but [it was] a different Stefanos each time," he said.

"The first time I faced Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open in the semi-finals I was really impatient. I remember thinking, 'Okay, I'm playing against one of the best. I really need to prove myself with big shots and go for it'.

"Two years later, I faced him again at the same tournament, this time in the quarter-finals. After going two sets down, I understood what I was doing wrong.

"I remember coming to an agreement with myself, saying, 'Okay, you're going to become patient. You're going to wait. You're going to spend every single minute on the court enjoying the play and just make it a fun game'. It turned out to be one of the best comebacks in my career so far."

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