Tsitsipas : “UTS is a way to change our sport”

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Creativity and expressiveness characterise the game and personality of Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Get to know what makes the highest-ranked player in the UTS tick.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, you will play the UTS from June 13. Imagine that someone has not watched you play before. What should they know about your game? 

My first weapon is my spirit, my second weapon is my patience, my third weapon is my creativity. I’m a person who goes really deep into the game. I like playing an aggressive style of tennis. Coming to the net, finishing the points by being aggressive. My serve is something that I rely on a lot in my game and I’m very energetic and, I believe, very exciting to watch because you never know what’s coming out of my racket.

You recently said you prefer to think about growing your game rather than focusing on winning all the time. Is this important to you? 

It’s important to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that tennis is a game. After all, it’s a game that I enjoy playing and I shouldn’t focus too much on winning and putting too much pressure and relying on things too much. So, after all, it’s a game where you get to express yourself where you get to be outdoors and enjoy a beautiful game which has a lot of beautiful elements within it and it is a game where you can compete against another person–it’s just wonderful. 

Would you rather win a Grand Slam by playing boring or lose the Grand Slam by being fun and creative?

It’s not so much about that. It’s about just being me when I’m out there because I am a different person than other players and other players have their own personality and their own characteristics. So I’ll stick to that. Whatever I do I want to do it my way and I don’t want anything to get in the way and change.

Tsitsipas I know that you have some tennis background in your family. Your mother was a tennis player, right? How long did she play and did she inspire you to become a professional tennis player too?

Yes she was very supportive and she wanted me to pursue my dreams and follow my passions so she provided a lot and added a lot to my game and to my personality, to the person that I am up to this day. She’s a person that has inspired me and has opened doors and opportunities for me to get to the highest level of tennis. 

Your father is the one on court everyday with you. Is he your coach?  

He is my coach. My father has been my coach since forever.

When did you come to the Mouratoglou Academy?  

I first came to the academy when I was 15 years old back in my junior years. I got an invitation from Patrick and I came here when the Academy was under construction. So I saw the development, I was here from very early on. It was a place for me where I could pursue my dream as a young teenager back at the time, and make things happen with the supervision and the help of experienced people in that field. 

The UTS is striving for innovation. Do you think that it might open the game and open the chances for the outsiders to win. 

I think it is a new format that allows for more variety in our game and I don’t necessarily think it’s bad. It’s a good concept and it’s going to show and provide people something new in the industry of tennis. So I see that as an evolutionary product and something that’s going to just expand the horizons of tennis.

What would you say to someone that tells you tennis is a sport for old people? 

Tennis is becoming very modernized and with today’s technology and the way things are changing day by day, tennis is going to be one of the sports that are going to bring in fresh and innovative things that are going to help a lot in the growth of it. So I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s a sport for old people. I can see a swap. A change of what we’d like to, I like to say, the basic knowledge. I believe the UTS is going to provide something fresh. And it’s also a way to change our sport. An evolutionary product. Which is going to open new doors and make tennis a bit more modernized and more updated.

Do you have one shot or one one trick that you use that could illustrate your game perfectly?

When I’m out on the court for me there are so many ways to play a shot. My signature shot which I’ve used a couple of times in the past is the diving shot and that’s the shot that represents me. That’s part of my creativity trying to get that difficult ball that otherwise I wouldn’t play back. So that’s who I am.

Are you not afraid of getting hurt by diving?

I think it’s all about feeling confident and believing that you can make it. You don’t really think much at that moment. You just do it and hope for the best. 

Who is your entourage? On a day to day basis who are the people backing you?

My father is always behind me as my coach. I have Fred as my fitness coach, at most tournaments. Same for Jerome, who is my physio. Patrick, from time to time he joins my team and he’s there for me clapping for me supporting me so my team is quite unique and we share a very good relationship with all of them. And I’m sure they’re all gonna be at my UTS debut.

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