The idea that the game’s newest superstar, one of the favourites for the men’s title here, was eager to hear about the progress of the 193rd-ranked player tells you much about the close camaraderie which is inspiring the rise of Greek tennis.
Tsitsipas might come over as the Hellenic flagbearer but he doesn’t see it that way. “No, I would like to say ‘we’, not ‘me’, because we are a team,” he explained, adamant that it’s not just his flamboyant brilliance but also the exploits of the country’s top two women, Maria Sakkari and Grammatikopoulou, that is currently behind the rise of the sport in Greece.
“I don’t see it as an individual thing but a team thing. I’m really happy for both Maria and Valentini when they win, and I’m trying to follow them as much as I can,” said Tsitsipas.
“It’s inspiring to see such young great athletes in Greece. I think we can do a lot more things in the future, maybe we can win big titles, maybe make tennis in Greece one of the top sports to play and to watch.
“And I really think we are getting there; we’re having much more success and much more TV exposure back home. Tennis is already popular; more people than ever are watching and talking about it. It’s lovely.”
Trio of trailblazers
The trio really are hoping to prove trailblazers as currently the only three Greek players among the world’s top 450 on the men and women’s tours.
World No.5 Tsitsipas, the youngest of the three at just 20, may be creating the biggest waves this year with his magnificent breakthrough that has seen him reach the Australian Open semi-final, beating Roger Federer en route, and taking out Rafa Nadal on clay while reaching the final of the Madrid Open.