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Come To Papa: How A Father's Sacrifice Spurred Tsitsipas' Success

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

After winning the championship match of the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, Stefanos Tsitsipas returned to the players’ area and celebrated with his team. Front and centre was Apostolos Tsitsipas, the Greek’s father and coach. Their smiles spoke louder than words.

During that event, the younger Tsitsipas often avoided putting on his headset to talk to his father, sometimes leaving Apostolos, who was keen to give his son advice, cracking up. But after the Greek star clinched the trophy and the fans had departed, Stefanos rubbed his father’s cheeks as his way of saying, “we did it”. Apostolos brought his son closer and gave him a kiss.

“I’m learning every day,” Apostolos told in 2018. “Hopefully one day I will be a good enough coach for my son for his future demands and his future dreams.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Apostolos Tsitsipas

Apostolos has long sacrificed whatever he could to allow his son to pursue those dreams. The 53-year-old did not play his first tennis tournament until the age of 23, and he would spend time as a teaching professional in Athens. Stefanos’ mom, Julia Salnikova, cracked the WTA’s Top 200 in singles and doubles. When Stefanos was 12, someone needed to travel with him to tournaments. Apostolos quit his job and became his son’s full-time coach, while Salnikova stayed home with the rest of the family.

“I don’t know if he had a choice, but he just risked it. He just quit himself and started travelling with me,” Stefanos said at 2018 Wimbledon. “I do appreciate what he did for me, because it’s amazing. Not many fathers would do this for their son.”

Tsitsipas’ success has validated his father’s sacrifice. When Stefanos won the Next Gen ATP Finals, he was already the No. 15 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. One month earlier, he had won his first ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open. It wasn’t a matter of whether Tsitsipas could reach the upper echelons of the sport — the Greek was already there.

There was only one question: How high could Tsitsipas could climb? Then 20, he admitted that he learned something that week at the Fiera Milano.

“I’ve learned that I’m a fighter,” Tsitsipas said. “That I have a big heart.”

Two months later, Tsitsipas made his biggest Grand Slam breakthrough, reaching the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open. During that run, he stunned Roger Federer in four sets. But Rafael Nadal showed the Greek wasn’t quite ready to go all the way, delivering a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 beatdown that left the Greek struggling for answers.

“It kind of felt like in a way it wasn’t tennis so much like the other matches that I played,” Tsitsipas said. “It felt like a different dimension of tennis completely.”

But that was just the beginning. Tsitsipas beat Nadal for the first time that year in Madrid, and he cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Later that year, the Greek star made the jump from #NextGenATP to “Now Gen”, lifting the trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals. The Greek was an established star, and his attacking game was clearly a threat to anyone at any time.

It wasn’t always easy for Tsitsipas, though. The Greek has faced setbacks. In the third round of last year’s US Open, he let slip six match points against Borna Coric and could only watch a week later when Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, both of whom he beat en route to the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals title, competed for the trophy.

Tsitsipas has never been one to wallow in his sorrows, though. The 6’4” right-hander has always managed to learn from his losses. One month later, he reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros, where Djokovic needed five sets to advance.

“Losing kind of keeps you in the same place, in the same spot, which is why I hate losing. Of course, I think everyone hates losing. It’s weird if you don’t hate losing,” Tsitsipas said. “But I guess a loss is a very good lesson where life puts a stop [to] what you’re doing. You can reflect on that. You can grow. You can get better.”

In Wednesday’s Australian Open quarter-finals, Tsitsipas once again lost the first two sets against Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park. The Spanish legend was pursuing a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title. But Tsitsipas did not give up. He fought back, and triumphed 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 after four hours and five minutes.

“Moments like this haven’t happened a lot in my career, and the fact that I was able to come back the way I did and the way I fought against such a top, respected player like Rafa was something extra, something I have never felt before,” Tsitsipas said. “It was a first-timer.”

Tsitsipas had already accomplished a lot during his young career when he recovered against Nadal inside Rod Laver Arena. It wasn’t the first time he reached a Grand Slam semi-final, and it wasn’t the Greek’s maiden victory against Nadal. Instead, it felt like Tsitsipas had come full circle. He had won the Next Gen ATP Finals trophy 830 days earlier and said, “I’m a fighter… I have a big heart.”

Stefanos showed it against Rafa, taking it to one of the most battle-tested icons in tennis history. It was only fitting that after the match, Tsitsipas walked over to his father in a moment straight out of a movie script. A decade ago, Apostolos quit his job to give his son anything he needed to pursue his dreams. Stefanos continues to make them come true, and he will try to take another step on his journey Friday when he plays Daniil Medvedev for a spot in his first Grand Slam final.

“To be able to just walk up to my team and hug them and share that little moment of appreciation and solidarity, it was epic,” Tsitsipas said. “It was everything I ever dreamed of, and I’m glad that I am where I am today. There is obviously light ahead at the end of the tunnel, and there is plenty more to go.”

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Home Hope Schwartzman Leads Cordoba Field: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

Diego Schwartzman will return to the Cordoba Open looking to delight Argentine tennis fans by lifting an ATP Tour trophy on home soil for the first time. 

The World No. 9 came agonisingly close last year, falling short in a final that went to three sets. But Schwartzman will have another shot at the third edition of this ATP 250 event, set to kick off on 22 February. Two of Schwartzman’s three ATP Tour titles have come on clay, and he’s made half of his 10 career finals on the surface.

But Schwartzman won’t be flying the sky blue and white flag alone. He leads a strong Argentine contingent that includes Juan Ignacio Londero, who won his maiden ATP Tour title at the 2019 edition, as well as Guido Pella, Federico Delbonis and Federico Coria. They will be among the players aiming to become Cordoba’s third consecutive South American champion, after Chilean Cristian Garin’s victory in 2020. 

Benoit Paire, Miomir Kecmanovic, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pablo Andujar are also in action at the ATP Tour’s first clay-court tournament of the season.

Here’s all you need to know about the Cordoba tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more. 

Established: 2019

Tournament Dates: 22-28 February 2021 

Tournament Director: Mariano Ink

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 20 February 2021 at 4pm

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday, 20 February – Sunday, 21 February at 11am
* Main draw: Monday, 22 February – Sunday, 28 February at 2:30pm and 6:30pm (Saturday 4pm)
* Doubles final: Sunday, 28 February at 5pm
* Singles final: Sunday, 28 February at 7pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
TV Schedule

Venue: Kempes Stadium
Surface: Outdoor Clay

Prize Money: US $294,235 (Total Financial Commitment: US $356,035)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles: Cristian Garin (1), Juan Ignacio Londero (1)
Most Titles, Doubles: Roman Jebavy (1), Andres Molteni (1), Marcelo Demoliner (1), Matwe Middelkoop (1)
Oldest Champion: Juan Ignacio Londero, 25, in 2019
Youngest Champion: Cristian Garin, 23, in 2020
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 31 Cristian Garin in 2020
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 112 Juan Ignacio Londero in 2019
Most Match Wins: Juan Ignacio Londero (7)
Last Home Champion: Juan Ignacio Londero in 2019

2020 Finals
Singles: [3/WC] Cristian Garin (CHI) d. [1] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0  Read More
Doubles: [3] Marcelo Demoliner/Matwe Middelkoop d. Leonardo Mayer/Andres Molteni 6-3, 7-6(4)  Read More

Hashtag: #CordobaOpen2021
Facebook: Córdoba Open
Twitter: @CordobaOpen
Instagram: @CordobaOpen

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Murray, Bautista Agut Look To End French Reign In Montpellier: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

French champions have ruled the courts in Montpellier at the Open Sud de France, lifting the trophy eight times since the first edition in 2010. Three-time winner Richard Gasquet and 2019 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lead a group of home hopefuls looking to continue that winning tradition when the ATP 250 event kicks off on 22 February.

The tournament is headlined by a pair of Top 20 players, Roberto Bautista Agut and David Goffin, who will each be aiming to double their indoor hard-court title count. Goffin’s lone title on the surface came on French soil at the 2014 Moselle Open (Metz), while Bautista Agut triumphed at the Sofia Open in 2016.

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray will arrive in Montpellier in search of matches as he enters his first ATP Tour event of the year with a wild card. Currently sitting at No. 125 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Murray kicked off his comeback 2021 season with a strong showing at the Biella Challenger Indoor 1, where he reached his first final at any level since 2019.


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Lucas Pouille, the 2018 champion, will be back in action as countrymen Ugo Humbert, Gilles Simon and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are in the hunt to be Montpellier’s fifth different French champion. Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner, who have already won ATP 250 titles in 2021, will also hit the courts in Montpellier.

Here’s all you need to know about the Montpellier tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more. 

Established: 2010

Tournament Dates: 22-28 February 2021 

Tournament Director: Sebastien Grosjean

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 20 February 2021 at 12pm

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Sunday, 21 February (10am); Monday, 22 February (10:30am)
* Main draw: Monday, 22 February – Sunday, 28 February at 12:30pm and 7pm
* Doubles final: Sunday, 28 February at 12:30pm
* Singles final: Sunday, 28 February at 3pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule


Ticketing Information
View On Official Website


Venue: Arena Montpellier
Surface: Indoor Hard

Prize Money: € 262,170 (Total Financial Commitment: € 323,970)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles: Richard Gasquet (3), Gael Monfils (3)
Most Titles, Doubles: Edouard Roger-Vasselin (2), Mate Pavic (2)
Oldest Champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 33, in 2019
Youngest Champion: Alexander Zverev, 19, 2017
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 7 Tomas Berdych in 2012
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 210 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2019
Most Match Wins: Richard Gasquet (26)
Last Home Champion: Gael Monfils in 2020

2020 Finals
Singles: [1] Gael Monfils (FRA) d [PR] Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 7-5, 6-3  Read More
Doubles: Nikola Cacic/Mate Pavic d. Dominic Inglot/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-4  Read More

Hashtag: #OSDF21
Facebook: @OpenSuddeFrance
Twitter: @OpenSuddeFrance
Instagram: @OpenSuddeFrance

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Cilic, Mannarino Seek Singapore Success: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

The “Little Red Dot” will host an ATP Tour tournament for the first time in 22 years when the Singapore Tennis Open kicks off on 22 February.

The ATP 250 event will be played on indoor hard courts and held on a single-year licence at the 3,000-seater OCBC Arena inside the vast Singapore Sports Hub. Singapore previously hosted an ATP tournament between 1989-1992 and 1996-1999.

Adrian Mannarino and John Millman will anchor the draw for the 2021 edition of the Singapore Tennis Open. Both players will be looking to double their ATP Tour trophy haul. Mannarino triumphed on grass two years ago in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, while Millman won his maiden title this past November in Nur-Sultan.

Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, will also feature in Singapore. The big-serving Croatian enjoys an indoor hard court and will be in the hunt for his ninth title on the surface to bring his total to 19 ATP Tour titles. Alexander Bublik, Yoshihito Nishioka and Radu Albot are also in action.

Here’s all you need to know about the Singapore tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, how to watch and more. 

Established: 2021

Tournament Dates: 22-28 February 2021 

Tournament Director: Galastein Tan

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 20 February 2021 (Time TBA)

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

* Qualifying: Saturday, 20 February (11am); Sunday, 21 February (12pm)
* Main draw: Monday, 22 February – Sunday, 28 February (Monday-Friday 1pm, Saturday 12pm)
* Doubles final: Sunday, 28 February at 1pm
* Singles final: Sunday, 28 February at 4pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
TV Schedule

Venue: OCBC Arena (Singapore Sports Hub)
Surface: Indoor Hard

View Who Is Playing, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Prize Money: US $300,000 (Total Financial Commitment: US $361,800)

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Karatsev: 'It Was A Great Two Weeks'

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

Aslan Karatsev left Melbourne Park with his head held high on Thursday after a semi-final exit to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

“It was a great two weeks for me, starting with the qualifying,” said Karatsev, after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 loss to nine-time champion Djokovic. “It’s a good experience. To play against Novak, helps me to get experience.

“It felt unbelievable [to play in front of a big crowd]. There was a lot of people here, and the support was really warm. It was [a] good atmosphere to play [in].”

Karatsev, who qualified for his first Grand Slam championship and beat eighth seed Diego Schwartzman, No. 18 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 20 seed Grigor Dimitrov en route to the Australian Open semi-finals, admitted that the difference between him and Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena was “huge”.

“The difference is really big,” said Karatsev, who was contesting just the 19th tour-level match of his career. “He doesn’t give you free points. On my serve, you have to play a rally every point. [My] serve didn’t work well today, and on my service games there [were] always rallies. He served well all the match, [so] you’re under pressure.”

The 27-year-old Russian, who started the tournament at No. 114 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will rise into the Top 50 on Monday and looks forward to playing in ATP Tour events.

“It give me more experience, more confidence,” said Karatsev. “Now I will be playing all [the] big tournaments without [having to play in] the qualifying. I’ll [use] this confidence and just keep playing, keep practising.

“[I feel] that I can play with everyone. I think it’s helped me a lot [for] my career. I improved my ranking, Top 50 [too].”

Karatsev joined Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev as a part of Russia’s ATP Cup title-winning team prior to the Australian Open. Medvedev plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second Australian Open semi-final on Friday.

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Djokovic: 'The Love Affair Keeps Going'

  • Posted: Feb 18, 2021

Eight-time champion Novak Djokovic says knowing that he has never lost an Australian Open final gives him more confidence ahead of Sunday’s test against Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The World No. 1, who was speaking after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 semi-final victory over Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev on Thursday, said, “Of course, it contributes to [having] more confidence. Coming into the final, knowing that I [have] never lost in the final or semi-finals [at the Australian Open] just makes me feel more comfortable on the court.

“But each year is different, although it does have a mental effect on me [and] maybe on my opponents. It does definitely have a positive effect on me. It’s not a decisive factor in the way the match is going to go… Regardless of my great record, I think both Tsitsipas and Medvedev will want to get their first Grand Slam title.”

Djokovic, who injured his abdominal region in a third-round victory over Taylor Fritz last week, went on to discuss his route to a 28th major championship final (17-10 record) and how he played pain-free against Karatsev on Rod Laver Arena.

“I’ve never experienced the kind of a injury that I experienced in third round here, and had to deal with in the past five days,” said Djokovic. “I also had tough match-ups. I had big hitters: Fritz, [Milos] Raonic, [Frances] Tiafoe, [Alexander] Zverev. I just had to deliver my best [level].

“I see every experience that I have at the Grand Slams as something that I can actually draw a lot of lessons from, learn from and grow. [I] definitely had to stretch myself to the limit in the past five days in every sense, but I’m really pleased that in terms of [the] injury, it’s going in the right direction.

“I am surprised [by] the way I felt tonight. I think it surpassed, in a way, my greatest wishes and the way I wanted to feel… I didn’t think that I’d play without pain tonight. And I did play without pain.

“Each day [the injury] is progressing and getting better, and so today is [the] best [I’ve] felt. Hopefully, [the injury] will stay the same until the final.”

The Serbian, who has compiled an 81-8 match record at Melbourne Park, admitted he has always aimed to begin each season in good form.

“I think, as any other tennis player at the beginning of the season, I really want to get off the blocks and start the season in the best possible way. So I’m fresh, I’m motivated, I’m inspired to play my best tennis. Then, of course, the surface, the conditions, especially night matches are very suitable to my style of play.

“I just somehow always manage to find the best game when it matters the most. The more I win, the better I feel coming back each year…. The love affair keeps [on] going.”

After Rafael Nadal’s loss to Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday, Djokovic is guaranteed to remain as World No. 1 through at least 8 March, when he will overtake Roger Federer to set a new record of 311 total weeks at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

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