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“Feels strange when someone says that I don’t focus on tennis” – interview with Stefanos Tsitsipas

interview Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas// ALEXANDER SCHEUBER @alexanderscheuber
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LONDON – Stefanos Tsitsipas defended himself against the criticism he received from his former fitness trainer and assured that his career is on the right track.

“I work hard every day and when I hear someone saying that I don’t work hard and don’t focus on tennis, it’s a little bit strange to me,” the 25-year-old athlete commented.

In this interview, originally published in Greek in SDNA, and exclusive in English and in Spanish for CLAY, Tsitsipas responded to the coments of Christos Fiotakis, who said he does not believe that he has as his main goal to reach the top or win Grand Slams, and claimed to be dissatisfied with the tennis player’s work ethic.

“I want to achieve big things that I haven’t achieved in the past. I feel like my game is slowly building towards something good,” said the two-time Grand Slam finalist in London during Wimbledon.

Interview with Stefanos Tsitsipas

– What comes to mind when you hear the word Wimbledon?

– A freshness, a fresh start. The grass represents what is freest in our sport and that’s where my freedom lies. For me grass is the most pleasant surface for the body, but also for the mind, for the soul, I feel there is a harmony in my game.

– The fourth round has been your ceiling at The Championships. What were your expectations coming into 2024?

– It’s a different year and I’m slowly getting to the level I’m looking for. I don’t want to talk big, I want to let myself speak on the court and prove to the world that I am capable of playing well in this tournament. Because it’s my favorite and because I feel it brings me closer to the game I started with, the serve and volley, the attacking intentions. It’s the grass that gives room for that more than any other surface. If you have a clear mind in your offensive intentions and don’t necessarily go for too much, you find a lot of opportunities.

– Do you think about the Olympics at all, the surface change that will follow?

– I’m not thinking about it at the moment, I’m only thinking about Wimbledon. The Olympics will come and I know we’ll have to make the transition from grass to clay, but my mind is on Wimbledon at the moment, I have no intentions of thinking about the Olympics. I don’t just want to play here, I want to achieve some big things that I haven’t achieved in the past. I feel like my game is slowly building towards something good.

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– After Roland Garros, your former fitness trainer Christos Fiotakis left the team and made some pretty harsh statements about you. Were you surprised by that?

– Anyway, our last written agreement expired after Roland Garros and we were going to see if we would continue. We had a contract from the beginning of January until the end of Roland Garros. It was his decision to come out and say what he said. I work hard every day and when I hear someone say that I don’t put in the work and that I’m not dedicated and focused on what I’m doing, it’s a little strange to me. All I do all day is live and breathe tennis. Others may have a different perspective of what I do, I’m not going to go against it. It’s his right to believe whatever he wants about me. I have higher expectations than the quarter-finals of Roland Garros and I really believe I can achieve more. Just because I didn’t make it this year doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. I will try to have people around me who are more specialized in tennis.

– Have you replaced him already?

– No, it’s me and my father. I said from the beginning that I don’t need to travel with a fitness trainer to the tournaments. For me, the physical workout should be done the week before the events. If there is something extra to add, then it can be done in a gap that may exist before the tournament begins or on a day off. This, of course, can also be done by the physiotherapist, who usually has some knowledge of fitness and all he can do is follow a programme that is given to him.

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– You recently shared on Instagram a video that sparked a lot of discussion on social media relating to the place of men and women in society, but you quickly deleted it. What are your real thoughts about the topic?

– My intentions were completely different than what people saw. I’m a very romantic person and I like videos and art in general that has to do with something beautiful and striking. And I saw it from that perspective, I didn’t see it in a sexist or misogynistic way, as it was seen by a lot of people. I would say I was wrong, I shouldn’t have shared something like that because it was misunderstood by many people. And it has happened before that I’ve shared something on Twitter and realized after two hours that people could have seen it differently. I was wrong both times.

– In the first round, you were scheduled on Court 18, a second-tier court. How did you take it?

– I’m used to playing on courts like this here now, it’s nothing new for me. My ranking (11th) is not as high as it used to be and it doesn’t send me automatically to Centre Court or Court 1. If my ranking was in the top eight I would have a chance of that. Right now I’m outside the top 10, so wherever they chose to put me I would be willing to compete. And hopefully at my own merit at some point in the tournament I’ll be able to get a spot on one of my favourite courts, Centre Court. And Court 1, of course, is a court where I’ve played a lot of matches and I won the junior doubles there.

 

If you enjoyed this interview with Stefanos Tsitsipas, don’t miss this link to our site, where you can find many other interviews with the great tennis stars.

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