Professional tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas believes that almost dying gave him more confidence and a better perspective, helping him in his career.
The BBC gives details about Tsitsipas’ near-death experience in October 2016.
He was swimming off the coast of Crete with a friend in 2015, while taking part in a third-tier Futures event in Crete.
The then teenage Tsitsipas and a friend went swimming but they almost fatally misjudged the strength of the currents and the pair was dragged out to sea.
Not understanding what was happening, they panicked and frantically tried to fight against the current, exhausting themselves in the process.
The two boys were just moments from being swept away until Tsitispas' quick-thinking dad Apostolos dived in to guide them back to safety.
"We couldn't breathe, I felt awful to be inside the water and was terrified. I didn't know how all this was going to end," Tsitsipas recalled.
"My father saw us from afar and he jumped in, started swimming towards us and pushed us towards the beach. I was just a few breaths away from dying."
"If we were supposed to die and lose our lives that day, we would have done it together.
"My father was a hero.
"That was the day I saw life with a different perspective. I remember after that how much psychologically it changed me."
Tsitsipas shares the same birthday with Pete Sampras, who is also of Greek origin.
Tsitispas Tennis Career
Titsipas’ parents both had tennis backgrounds; mom Julia was a professional, and both her and dad Apostolos taught tennis in the Athens suburbs. With the tennis background of both parents, their son started playing tennis at a very young age.
Tsitsipas achieved world No. 1 status as a junior. At 16, he attended an academy run by Serena Williams‘ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, where he received his elite training.
As a shy kid, Tsitsipas was bullied at school, admitting “it was hard” for him to talk to people, including his family. He preferred to be a good listener and observer. He has made progress since he joined the academy in 2015.
Mouratoglou recalls Tsitsipas was introverted and “developed his own world.” He still has a close relationship with his family, calling them his “stability” and admitting that he “owe[s] a lot to them.
Tsitsipas To Play Wimbledon Doubles With Brother
The Greek pair overcame Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the first round at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, and played together at the Australian Open (losing to McDonald/Paul). This will be their eighth tournament of the season together, and they will face Jaume Munar and Cameron Norrie in the first round.
The World No. 4 will be in for a busy tournament if he advances to the latter stages in both draws, because Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where doubles is played on a best-of-five-sets format.
In his first match in England Stefanos Tsitsipas will face a tough first-round opponent in America’s Frances Tiafoe.