Stefanos TsitsipasGreek Tennis Player
Stefanos Tsitsipas is a Greek tennis player. He won his first ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open in 2018.
• Date of birth: 12 August 1998
• Age: 23 years old
• Place of birth: Athens, Greece
• Residence: Athens / Monte Carlo
• Nationality: Greek
• Height: 193cm / 6ft 4ins
• Weight: 90kg / 198lbs
• Plays: Right-handed
• Turned Pro: 2016
• Career Prize Money: US$ 18,363,259
Tsitsipas comes from a tennis-focused family, with his mother having played on the WTA Tour and his father having trained as a tennis coach.
The 23-year-old turned professional in 2016 and, after winning his first match on the ATP Tour in 2017, claimed his first ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open in October 2018.
He capped a sparkling 2019 campaign by winning the ATP Finals title in London, becoming the youngest winner of the year-end championship since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.
In 2021, he reached his first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets.
Tsitsipas has continued to make steady progress since then and reached number three in the world rankings in 2021, making him the highest-ranked Greek men’s player in history.
So, what do we know about Stefanos’ journey to becoming the talented tennis player he is today? This is his story.
Early Life, Parents And Upbringing
Stefanos Tsitsipas was born on 12 August 1998 in Athens, Greece.
He comes from a family with a history of tennis – his mother, Julia Salnikova, who is Russian, played on the WTA Tour and his father, Apostolos, is a trained tennis coach.
Stefanos has three younger siblings – Petros, Pavlos and Elisavet – each of whom also play tennis. It’s fair to say that sport runs in the family – his maternal grandfather, Sergei, was 1956 Olympic gold medallist in football.
Stefanos started hitting tennis balls when he was just three years old, and his mother, Julia, was his first coach.
“My first memory is to be three and to hit balls with my father in the gap between lessons,” Tsitsipas said in 2018. “I remember watching games on TV, as a baby, I cannot tell you who was playing, but I remember watching.”
His father has revealed how Stefanos started out in the sport. “Stefanos started to play when he was really little,” Apostolos said in an interview in 2018. “I am a professional tennis coach and since Stefanos started to walk I kept him in the group of kids. He was clearly alone at the beginning, then he started to hold the racket in hand.”
Stefanos decided to pursue a career as a tennis player when he was around nine years old. According to his father Apostolos, Stefanos woke up one night after winning a junior tournament and told him he wanted to focus on tennis.
His father Apostolos said: “He woke up in the middle of the night and he told me: ‘Dad, I have to tell you something: I want to become a tennis player, I like the competition, I like the challenge’.”
Stefanos enjoyed an impressive junior career, and was ranked as number one in the world after having started playing on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2013 at the age of 14. He reached the semi-finals of both junior Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016.
Tsitsipas played his first ATP Tour level match at the 2017 Rotterdam Open, where he lost to eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
At the ATP 250 2017 European Open in Antwerp, Belgium, Stefanos made it all the way to the semi-finals after coming through as a qualifier. He lost to Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals.
That run propelled the then-19-year-old into the top 100 of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career, becoming the first Greek player to do so.
He continued to make progress in 2018 and won his first career ATP title at the Stockholm Open, where he beat Ernests Gulbis in the final to become the first Greek player to win an ATP title.
“Of course I feel happy because I’m the first Greek [to win a title],” Stefanos said after the triumph in Stockholm. “Hopefully many Greek players can achieve something like this.
“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.”
Stefanos ended a fruitful year in impressive fashion by winning the ATP Next Gen finals in Milan. He also won the award for the ATP Most Improved Player that season.
ATP Finals Title In 2019
Tsitsipas continued to make impressive progress in 2019 and at the Australian Open, he enjoyed an impressive run to the semi-finals, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
He won his second career title at the Open 13 in Marseille in February 2019 before finishing as the runner-up to Roger Federer at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Stefanos then won his first career clay title at the Estoril Open, defeating Pablo Cuevas in the final. He then reached the final of the Madrid Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
His impressive run of form had propelled him up to number six in the ATP world rankings.
Stefanos ended the year as number six in the world and qualified for the ATP Finals in London as a result. At the tournament, he defeated Roger Federer to set up a final showdown with Dominic Thiem. Aged 21, he won the ATP Finals title with a 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) victory in the final.
“It’s been a rollercoaster. Holding this trophy is amazing,” said Stefanos after the triumph. “It is a dream come true and the best way to end this match.
“I did get nervous at some points in the match but I managed to forget about how I felt and I had momentum in the tie-break, which was really tight. My fighting spirit and me constantly trying to push myself to do better got me there in the end.”
Stefanos continued to make progress in the seasons that followed, and he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2021, where he lost to Daniil Medvedev.
He claimed his first ATP 1000 Masters title in Monte-Carlo in 2021, defeating Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-3 in the final. “I had an unbelievable week,” said Tsitsipas after lifting the trophy. “I am overwhelmed by so many different emotions and nostalgia. I would consider it as the [best] week of my life so far.”
He then made it to the 2021 French Open final – the first Grand Slam final of his career – where he lost to world number one Novak Djokovic despite holding a two-set lead, with the Serb eventually triumphing 6-7 (6-8) 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.
Stefanos won his second ATP 1000 Masters crown in April 2022 by defending his title at the Monte-Carlo Masters. He defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain in the final, 6-3, 7-6(3), to secure the trophy.
“I am very proud of myself,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “Things weren’t going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off. I am really proud with the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high.”
Life Away From The Court
Away from the court, Stefanos enjoys travelling with friends, photography, video editing and anything creative. Enjoys video blogging on YouTube and produces his own podcast, called: ‘A Greek Abroad’.
Stefanos, who is a supporter of Greek football club AEK Athens, has shown a talent for languages. He speaks Greek, Russian and English, and is eager to learn Chinese and Spanish.
He shares his birthday with former world number one Pete Sampras, who is also of Greek origin.
Prize Money And Salary
As of April 2022, Stefanos had earned a total of US$ 18,363,259 in prize money, for singles and doubles combined.
What Have Others Said?
Stefanos’ father, Apostolos Tsitsipas, speaking about his son’s decision to pursue a career in tennis: “I remember we were in the North of France in Normandy, and he won a masters. He asked to participate in a junior French tour, and he won the masters of four tournaments. He was one of eight best players and he won the masters. I remember the night before we flew back to Greece, he was not sleeping. He was super excited and he came to me and asked me if he could play only tennis and [not] do anything else in his life, because he feels really great [on] the tennis court.”
Novak Djokovic, speaking after beating Tsitsipas in the 2021 French Open final: “I can relate to what he is going through, I understand how difficult it is losing in a Grand Slam final. These are the matches and kind of occasions that you learn most from. He will come out stronger and I believe he will win many Grand Slams in the future.”