Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas hopes more kids from his country can take to tennis after watching his rise on the ATP circuit.
In an interview with ESPN, Tsitsipas revealed he had been told by a woman he had inspired more than two-thirds of kids in Greece to take up the sport. That, he said, made him very glad.
“I received a message recently from one woman who said because of me, 71 percent of the kids [in Greek] schools choose to play tennis. So I was like, ‘OK, I feel pretty proud of myself.’ I mean, no one played tennis before, and now it’s 71 percent. Wow, so it must be pretty nuts when I get back there.”
Incidentally, Tsitsipas is the first Greek man to ever make it to the top 100 of the ATP Rankings, having got there nearly 12 months ago. However, since then, his ascent has been wonderful to watch.
The Greek came through the qualifiers to make it to the Doha quarter-finals in the first ever tournament he participated in this year and while there were first round defeats at Auckland and the Australian Open, that didn’t deter him ending the year with a ranking of number 15th in the world.
This has been thanks to his showing at the Barcelona Open where he made the final before losing to Rafael Nadal, the semi-finals at the Estoril Open, a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, which has been his best at a major, a runner-up trophy at the Rogers Masters, and a title win at the Stockholm Open.
That title win in Sweden made him the first man from his country to win a tournament on the ATP circuit. And now participating in the ATP Next Gen Finals, he has already gotten the better of Frances Tiafoe and Jaume Munar, two of the other upcoming players under the age of 21.
And while speaking to the media after the Stockholm Open win, Tsitsipas had said he hoped other Greek players could take a cue and push on on the ATP tour as well.
“I would be super happy to see them achieve something like this in the future, maybe even in the near future. Representing my country at such high-level tournaments, being the first Greek to crack the top 100 is very, very special for me.”
Currently, Tsisipas trains at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy which is run by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach. And that could act as a very vital cog in the development of the Greek.