Tsitsipas, Sakkari Drawing On Fond Memories In Perth For United Cup

greece united cup 2023 media day

The last time Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas were in Perth, the Greek duo was causing a stir as the underdogs.

At the 2019 Hopman Cup, they pulled off separate mixed doubles wins over both Serena Williams (with Frances Tiafoe) and Roger Federer (with Belinda Bencic).

"Those are some of the best memories of my career," Sakkari recalled on Media Day at the inaugural United Cup, where Team Greece is the No.1 seed, the only squad in Perth featuring players ranked inside both the WTA and ATP Top 10s.

Sakkari and Tsitsipas aren't just fuelled by positive vibes, though. There's a sense of unfinished business after they were pipped by eventual champions Switzerland in 2019.

"We didn't make it to the finals, but we were very close to," observed WTA No.6 Sakkari. "I would say a little bit unlucky with the scoring system. It wasn't a regular scoring system."

Tsitsipas concurred, and said that Team Greece had set themselves lofty goals.

"We have our eyes on the prize," said the ATP No. 4. "I have a lot of faith in the players that are currently in our squad. I feel like it can't get any better than that right now. We're really striving for excellence all together."

The Greek squad features two pairs of siblings - Stefanos and younger brother Petros Tsitsipas, who is also the team captain, as well as Sapfo Sakellaridi, 19, and Stefanos Sakellaridis, 18. Their tight bonds have influenced the whole team.

"I think our spirit is one of the best among all of the teams," said the elder Tsitsipas. "We have a family-oriented mentality in what we pursue. We are extremely collaborative between each other."

Greece has been drawn in Group A in Perth alongside Bulgaria and Belgium, and will kick off against the former. Despite the star power floating around the group, the first rubber of the competition will be an opportunity for lesser-known team members to shine as No.158-ranked Despina Papamichail faces No.381-ranked Isabella Shinikova.

"I feel a bit extra responsibility," said Greek No.2 Papamichail, who enjoyed her most successful season to date in 2022. "But I'm really excited to be here with the team, with such good players. I'm really looking forward to helping to reach our goal."