The Moment Apostolos Tsitsipas Knew Stefanos Was A Special Player
It was an emotional scene on Court Rainier III after Stefanos Tsitsipas clinched his second consecutive Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title on Sunday. Immediately following his win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the Greek immediately went to his box to celebrate with his team including his family.
Tsitsipas’ father, Apostolos Tsitsipas, is one of his coaches. After his son’s victory in the Principality, Apostolos told a story of a memory from around Stefanos’ 11th birthday.
“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,” Tsitsipas recalled. “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.”
Apostolos was a high school teacher at the time and his experience with his students helped inform his realisation when Stefanos told him that.
“I believe one day telling the opinion like this, it's exactly what they have inside them,” Tsitsipas said. “So my difficulty actually was to manage to bring the best out of him from this dream and this will he had to play tennis.”
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The 23-year-old Tsitsipas recently brought former World No. 4 Thomas Enqvist onto his team and Patrick Mouratoglou, the former coach of Serena Williams and current coach of Simona Halep, is also in his box from time to time, including Sunday. But his family is almost always with him, which Apostolos said is important.
“During his career, it's very important [for] the parents to be around, because it's a very hard life, traveling. It's really hard week after week traveling. At some point he starts losing [and that is] orientation of what's happening in life,” Tsitsipas said. “But if the family is around — like it's proved this week, when all the family is here, because we now live in the South of France — for him [it] was much more comfortable, it feels like home. That gives him extra strength, I believe.”
It is easy to forget that Tsitsipas underwent surgery on his elbow after last season. He has previously revealed that his doctor did not expect him to compete until the clay-court season. Not only did the Greek make his return at the start of 2022, but he has already added another ATP Masters 1000 trophy to his collection.
Apostolos explained how scary injuries are for players, and how pleased he is with his son’s comeback.
“I didn't know really that it was so hard for him. He was telling me after Torino or Nitto [ATP] Finals that [it was] feeling very painful,” Tsitsipas said. “We decided to make a surgery. It was very successful, and now he's pain-free and I'm very happy for that.”