She began playing tennis after watching Kim Clijsters compete at Grand Slams, now Sofia Costoulas has designs on following in the footsteps of her compatriot and triumphing at the Australian Open.
Costoulas’s interest in tennis piqued after watching her fellow Belgian compete at the US Open, which she famously won on three occasions, most recently in 2010, before topping the podium here in Melbourne a year later.
Sofia Costoulas may be playing for Belgium but she has not forgotten to mention that her Greek culture is very important to her as she is looking up to Greek stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. Costoulas, who started playing tennis after watching Kim Clijsters at the Grand Slam, has been through to the Australian Open girls' singles semifinal after beating No. 2nd seed Diana Schnaider
"My Greek culture is very important to me,” Costoulas told the ITF website. “I love Greek culture and I love Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. I look up to them both and I love that I am a little bit Greek.
“I have a lot of family in Greece and I could speak fluent Greek when I was little until my grandfather, who was Greek, died. Afterwards, I stopped speaking the language, which I’m a little disappointed about, although hopefully, I can pick it back up again.
“My grandfather was also the only one who played tennis for fun. Neither of my parents play tennis. My dad was a professional football player and I started playing tennis after watching Kim Clijsters at the US Open”.
Costoulas aims to win it all at Melbourne Park
Should Costoulas make it all the way in Melbourne, she would become the first Belgian junior to win a Grand Slam since 2012. "My confidence at the moment is great,” said Costoulas.
“I have won a lot of matches in the last few weeks and I have a lot of belief as a result. “But this is still a Junior Grand Slam and all the best junior players are here. Every match is really, really tough and probably comes down to the details: who gets a little luck or plays better in the tough moments.
“I am certainly benefitting from being healthy as last year I was injured for quite a long time. I am happy that I am able to play without injury and that’s a big thing for me this year. “After that, I would like to win a Junior Grand Slam in 2022, so we will see if it is here or somewhere else”
Belgium's Sofia Costoulas, who won last week's J1 in Traralgon and is now on an 11-match win streak, advances to girls final with a 64, 61 win over unseeded Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia.
She Plays Petra Marcinko in the Final