Tsitsipas' Greek Grounding Key To His Success
Stefanos Tsitsipas is representing Team Greece at ATP Cup for a third consecutive year this week in Sydney and will be hoping to guide his country out of the group stage for the first time.
Ahead of competing in his opening singles match Monday, the World No. 4 spoke to ATPTour.com about Greece’s team dynamics, his love of Greek food and more.
If you could take a shot from one of your teammates and add it to your game, what would it be?
Michail’s [Pervolarakis] return. Both backhand and forehand.
Which member of your team would most likely be late for dinner or practice?
Markos Kalovelonis. He is just really laid back. Very chilled and he takes life very easy and at a slow pace.
Can you describe the personality of your teammates in a few words?
I would describe all of us as pretty shy. We are pretty open with each other but I would define Michail’s personality as very low-key, not extremely social but he feels comfortable around people he knows for a long time. Markos, pretty much the same. We have a new member of the team, Aristotelis Thanos, who is probably the shyest of them all. He barely talks to us. He is a nice kid. My brother is the most outgoing of us all.
Talk about the first tennis club you played at in Greece?
Tennis club Glyfada, located about 15 minutes from where I lived. We only had clay courts and I grew up playing on the clay courts there. I picked up tennis pretty early at the age of six. I had two coaches that taught me the game I very much love up to this day and I am still in touch with them. All outdoor courts. The weather in Greece is very good and even in winter time we are still able to play outdoors.
What do you remember about those early days?
I remember finishing with practice and my parents would be very late to pick me up, like a couple of hours and I would stay and play on the wall for hours, recreating a Wimbledon or Roland Garros title playing against that wall. Thinking about it now, I have come a long way.
I remember next to the tennis club there were neighbours and it was a residential area and I was creating a lot of noise when playing against the wall and people didn’t like that. But I kept playing.
When I first started I was very shy and I am also very privileged. I got really lucky with my first coach as he really made me love the sport even more than I did back then and he was really good with kids and I only realise it now.
Where would you tell people to visit in Greece?
My top three destinations in Greece would be Paxi Islands in the Ionian sea. Crete Island, where culture was first discovered. There are plenty of things to do in Crete. I would recommend the place of my birth, which is very rich in tourism and one of the top destinations in the south-western part of Athens.
What about Greek food?
Any Greek food you try will not leave you disappointed. We have plenty of dishes, seafood, meat. We have many vegetarian options. We have one of the best cuisines in the world.