Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari will defend the colors of Greece at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Given all the challenges these Games have faced in 2021, Stefanos Tsitsipas believes that taking part in this years Olympic games is momentous enough for the two players.
“I think the experience we’re going to get at the Olympics can’t be compared to anything else,” said Tsitsipas after practice at the Ariake Tennis Park on Thursday. “I think both of us really wanted to be here. The fact that it’s a thing now is an unbelievable feeling.
“Being from Greece, the Olympics mean a lot to us. I think both of us would agree that we’re very honored that the Greek flag would be part of tennis this year.”
Eleni Daniilidou and Anna Gerasimou were the last Greek players to participate in tennis at the Olympic Games, representing the nation at Beijing 2008. Not since Athens 2004 has a Greek player won a match at an Olympics, when Daniilidou reached the third round of the women’s singles event, but that wait is surely set to end this year.
Tsitsipas has experience of Tokyo, having reached the quarter-finals at the city’s ATP event in 2018, and the world No. 4 is hoping that familiarity will serve him well.
“I’ve played at the before,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best arenas that tennis has to offer. I really like the people here – how much they just love the sport and tennis. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the same without them, but I’m hoping for a good overall experience and a good stay here.
“These are some of the few things that I’m focussing on. And just be one with my country. Try and represent Greece in the best possible way. I’m super honored and happy that I’m here, and things will come into shape.”
Tsitsipas begins his Tokyo 2020 campaign against 37-year-old Philip Kohlschreiber, who will make his second appearance at the Games having also represented Germany at Rio 2016.
“Battle of the backhands, yeah,” Tsitsipas noted of their upcoming encounter. “He’s someone that I’ve played a few times in the past. It’s going to be my first match. I’m hoping for a good start – just try and play my aggressive game, play smart and make it on my terms.
“The conditions here are slightly different,” he continued. “The last couple of weeks, I was playing on different surfaces and different conditions, but I think after a couple of practice sessions, it’s going to feel great. I think my mind is there and my body too. There’s nothing that’s bothering me right now.”
The two world-class players will also team up to play the mixed doubles Olympic Event.