Tsitsipas rules out playing mix doubles with Badosa at the Australian Open, praises Antetokounmpo

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Paula Badosa

After being knocked out by Bernarda Pera in Adelaide, Paula Badosa looks set to focus on singles to improve her game after returning from a months-long injury layoff.

According to the Guardian, Stefanos Tsitsipas seems genuinely happy as his relationship with the Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa is thriving from their base in Dubai.

"I truly believe she is the right person at my side and vice versa for her. We laugh a lot and got to the finals of a mixed doubles event in Abu Dhabi last month. She has the same seriousness as me on court," he said.

Could they play in the mixed doubles in Australia? “It’s a difficult decision because I really want to play with her. But my main priority is singles and it’s important to economise my energy during these hopefully deep runs. I am already committed to playing doubles with my brother [Petros]. So three events would be too demanding.”

His simmering rivalry with Nick Kyrgios has eased a little. Kyrgios is injured and won’t play in Australia. “Everything is cool,” Tsitsipas says while suggesting that the Australian still needs to control himself on court. “There’s no tension. He’s just different and I have to respect that. It’s great for the sport. What is not cool, though, is when an opponent is trying to disrupt you during the match and doesn’t approach it fair and square. He’s talking to the umpire, to people outside the court, while you are trying to serve. You’re not there to talk, you’re there to play. When things get twisted it can be frustrating. I think he understands he was wrong and as long as he accepts his mistakes and if we have a fair match against each other that doesn’t include any of these antics I am OK to move on.”

After their fractious 2022 match at Wimbledon, Tsitsipas spoke last year of Kyrgios bringing an NBA attitude to tennis – which some misconstrued as an attack tinged with racism. Tsitsipas is friends with Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the NBA’s current great players.

He still acknowledges that “I definitely made a mistake there describing the situation. I have lots of respect for NBA athletes and I love basketball. It’s my favourite sport to watch. Perhaps what I meant is that when [Kyrgios] trash-talks he follows an etiquette tennis is not used to. It reminded me of the NBA and how LeBron James and Kobe Bryant trash-talked each other all the time. He is also trying to bring all that basketball attire to tennis which is zero problem. So things are good right now.”

Antetokounmpo, tagged the “Greek Freak” in the NBA, remains a huge inspiration to Tsitsipas. “Giannis is a big reason why I push myself to become better. He is a great source of motivation for me. I look up to him. I admire his skill, his mindset, his ethics. He has the full package and I love the guy. I aspire to one day be like him. I wish we could speak more often but he lives in the US and we both travel so much. I know he respects me a lot. I’ve seen that in his eyes. He understands my life extremely well and we’ve had a lot of interesting conversations about the mentality you need to be the best that you can actually be. There aren’t many top guys out there that are humble like him. That’s the biggest, most positive thing about him because for a guy with such a big presence and personality it’s difficult to stay grounded. But he is just like any other regular guy.”

READ MORE: Tower London Announces Partnership with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Family-Owned Label ANTETOKOUNBROS.

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