Categories: SPORT

Xronia Polla to Stefanos Tsitsipas who turns 22 today

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Greece’s young tennis sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas was born on the 12th of August 1998.

Tsitsipas is the youngest player ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and has a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history. He has won five ATP singles titles and reached ten finals.

Born into a tennis family where his mother was a professional on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour and his father was trained as a tennis coach, Tsitsipas was introduced to the sport at the age of three and began taking lessons at the age of six, at the Glyfada Tennis Club in Athens.

“I became involved because of my parents who happen to be tennis coaches, so tennis was part of my life since the very beginning. I had a good coach who taught me the basics and developed my game and mentality for the sport,” he previously told Greek City Times, in an exclusive interview with Antonia.

He credits his father Apostolos, as being his mentor as he is always by his side, helping him achieve his goals.

In 2015, Tsitsipas also began training at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy, splitting time between France and Greece during this period.

As a junior, he was ranked No. 1 in the world. He also became the third Greek player, and first Greek male in the Open Era, to win a junior Grand Slam title with a victory in the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ doubles event.

Tsitsipas won his first ATP match in late 2017 and quickly ascended up the ATP rankings the following year. He reached three tour-level finals in 2018 and won his first title at the Stockholm Open. With his runner-up finish at the Canadian Open, he became the youngest player to defeat four top-ten opponents in a single tournament. After culminating his season with an exhibition title at the Next Gen Finals, Tsitsipas continued to build on his success by reaching the semifinals at the 2019 Australian Open.

He entered the 2020 Australian Open seeded 6th in the mens bracket, but failed to repeat his success of 2019, losing in the 3rd round to Milos Raonic. Tsitsipas recovered quickly to defend his title at the Open 13 tournament, winning his 5th ATP title, recording in the process 4 wins in a row without dropping a set, and defeating Félix Auger-Aliassime in the final. The following week he entered the Dubai Tennis Championships, as the second seed, behind Novak Djokovic. He recorded 4 wins in a row, reaching the final, where he lost in straight sets to the World No. 1.

Tsitsipas was born to Apostolos Tsitsipas and Julia Apostoli (née Salnikova) in Athens. His father is Greek and his mother is Russian. Both of his parents are experienced tennis players, and his mother, in particular, was a world No. 1 junior who had a career-high professional ranking inside the top 200 and represented the Soviet Union in Fed Cup.

His parents originally met at a WTA tournament in Athens where his mother was competing and his father was a line judge.

Stefanos has three younger siblings Petros, Pavlos, and Elisavet, all of whom are also tennis players.

He also participated in other sports as a kid, including football and swimming. His father said Stefanos made the decision to become a tennis player himself, recalling that his son “woke up in the middle of the night” after a tournament in France at age nine and told him “Dad, I have to tell you something: I want to become a tennis player, I like the competition, I like the challenge.”

The young, ambitious tennis player told Antonia he “had a goal from when I was a child, I had dreams from young and I want to achieve all of them as an adult. I want to continue improving the rankings and create history with tennis. It’s my job, so I have to do it as well as possible!” Stefanos said.

His favourite part about tennis is “competing and doing something productive for your yourself. I also enjoy the travelling (not too many weeks though). It’s an individual sport and it’s you who chooses your team. I love every single thing about tennis.”

For those who aspire to become a tennis player, Stefanos gives some advice:

“It’s tough but there are going to be some good moments as well. Remember what you want, and if you want it bad enough, then it will slowly appear on the surface. Stay humble with a good work-ethic and balanced behaviour. The environment and the people surrounding you also play a big role in your career. Be the best version of yourself.”

From GCT, Xronia Polla, Happy 22nd Birthday Stefanos!

*Images by Nick Bourdaniotis/Bourdo Photography (Copyright)

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