Greek 20-year-old, tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas has been very vocal when it comes to how much he admires Roger Federer.

The Federer has always been an inspiration to Tsitsipas, who was dubbed the most exciting young talent on the ATP Tour after not becoming the first Greek man to make the top 100 in October 2017, only to climb from 91 to 15 by 2018’s end.

On 3 January 2019, the Greek talent will face his role model for the first time, on a Thursday night showdown at the Hopman Cup at RAC Arena.

The two have met before, after the young star was invited to train with Federer in Dubai.

“His coach got in touch with us and he offered good training facilities and conditions before the Aussie swing and we accepted it,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m hitting with the best and learning as much as I can from the experience.”

“I am smiling already, I am picturing things in my brain of how it is going to feel and look like to be sharing the same court as him,” stressing that it is a privilege to be playing such a respected athlete of our sport.

“He’s not just an inspiration, I also think that he has played a huge role over my performance and development over the years. I continue to push myself daily to achieve what he has achieved, and I honestly think that being in his position one day would be the best feeling on earth,” he continued adding that this is what he has been working for every day of his life.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, of Greece, celebrates after defeating Alex De Minaur, of Australia, during the ATP Next Gen tennis tournament final, at the Rho fair in November 2018. Photo: AP/Luca Bruno

With Federer as an example of passion, hard work and determination, Tsitsipas managed to beat an array of top tennis players at the Rogers Cup, won his first ATP title in Stockholm in October and beat Australia’s Alex de Minaur at the Next Gen Finals’ decider in November. Come January, everyone will be holding their breath for the Aus Open.

“I watched this event as a kid on television and I remember saying to myself that I would like to play this tournament one day. It is something new for me and I am excited to be sharing the court with the best, and I am excited that Roger will be there, it is a good challenge for me and obviously I want to do well there because I think it can help with my confidence before an event like the Aussie Open.”

“I really believe that fitness played a big role this year and also mentally I was a different player, more mature more patient and more professional in what I was doing,” he said laying down his goals for 2019.

“To make semis or better in a grand slam, win a masters event and finish at the Nitto finals at the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will team with another Greek tennis sensation in Perth, 23-year-old Maria Sakkari, 23, who currently sits at world No.41.

The duo will open the mixed-teams tournament against Great Britain on Saturday 29 December, hoping to give Greece more distinctions.

“I have never played doubles with her, but we have practised before,” Tsitsipas said. “You never know what can happen but we will play with heart and the spirit to win and that could be the hinge point for us. […] Wow, it would be the best start of the year. I like to enter any tournament with low expectations and take each match at a time. So, let’s see what happens.”