The first Cypriot to reach a grand slam final when beaten by Roger Federer in the 2006 Australian Open decider, Baghdatis was a top-rated player in Melbourne.
The 37-year-old, who will feature in the Legends tournament later this week, said the support he welcomed from the Greek community was an element in his career-best efforts here.
“From the first moment that I came here, something clicked with the city, with the people, with the fans, I just loved it here,” he said.
“They have a big community that follows their Greek athletes, and that is what they are doing to Stefanos too, which is great to see.
“This is where I had my best emotions, the best success of my career. To be here on an invitation, there is no way I could have said no. It is an honour to be back.”
The 37-year-old believes Tsitsipas, who has reached three semi-finals in Melbourne, will set a new mark for Greek tennis.
“If he keeps fit and is not injured … he is going to become the number one in the world soon,” he said.
|The Bryan brothers, Agnieskza Radwanska, Tommy Haas and Marcos Baghdatis lead star-studded legends event.|
|Six-time Australian Open men’s doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan are set to return to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open 2023 Legends competition.|
The former world No.1s will join a star-studded line-up for the legends’ doubles competition, which will be played at Melbourne Park from Sunday 22 January – Thursday 26 January.
The AOlegends’ competition gives fans the chance to see some of the sport’s most popular players from the past in action. This year’s 16-strong player field also includes former World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland and Australian Open 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who like the Bryan brothers, will be competing in the legends’ event for the first time.
The Bryan brothers hold an incredible 77-15 win-loss record at the Australian Open from their 21 consecutive appearances as a team between 2000 and 2020. The 43-year-old American twins won the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 titles, making them the tournament’s most prolific doubles champions in the Open era.
Radwanska made 12 Australian Open appearances between 2007 and 2018, reaching the women’s singles semifinals in 2014 and 2016. The 33-year-old is now a mother to two-year-old Jakub and was Poland’s captain at the inaugural United Cup earlier this month.
The Wimbledon 2012 finalist will team up with Australian Open 2008 semifinalist Daniela Hantuchova. The 39-year-old Slovak, achieved a top-five ranking in both singles and doubles during her career and won the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2002.
Baghdatis won the Australian Open boys’ singles title in 2003 and almost replicated that result in the men’s singles competition three years later, memorably advancing to the Australian Open 2006 final against Roger Federer.
The popular 37-year-old, who made his last Australian Open appearance in 2019, is partnering Australian favourite Mark Phillippoussis.
Phillippoussis is a two-time Davis Cup champion and a former Wimbledon and US Open finalist. The 46-year-old achieved a career-high singles ranking at world No.8.
The Australian Open 2023 legends’ field also includes:
Tommy Haas: A three-time Australian Open semifinalist, former world No.2 and Olympic silver medalist. The popular 44-year-old German made his 14th and final appearance at Melbourne Park in 2017.
Radek Stepanek: Winner of the Australian Open 2012 men’s doubles title, the 44-year-old Czech was a top-10 player in both singles and doubles. The two-time Davis Cup champion ended his Grand Slam career at Australian Open 2017.
Iva Majoli: A former world No.4 and the Roland Garros 1997 women’s singles champion. The 45-year-old was captain of Team Croatia at the United Cup earlier this month.
Barbara Schett-Eagle: The 46-year-old Austrian is a former top-10 player in both singles and doubles. Schett-Eagle was an Australian Open 2001 mixed doubles finalist and is now a well-respected commentator.
Rennae Stubbs: A four-time Olympian who won six Grand Slam doubles titles. The 51-year-old represented Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup (formerly Fed Cup) competition across a record 17 years.
Cara Black: A former world No.1 and 10-time Grand Slam doubles champion. The 43-year-old from Zimbabwe won the AO 2007 women’s doubles title and AO 2010 mixed doubles title.