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Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Benoit Paire in his Acapulco debut.

Tsitsipas: 'Mexico Is Where It All Started For Me'

The top seed is competing in Acapulco for the first time

Stefanos Tsitsipas first visited Mexico towards the end of 2014 for back-to-back junior tournaments. It was the first tournament trip during which his father, Apostolos Tsitsipas, travelled with him as his full-time coach. A few weeks later, Tsitsipas won the prestigious Orange Bowl, and the Greek has been on the rise ever since.

“That was my first elevation in tennis. Mexico is pretty much the place where it all started for me, chasing the dream,” Tsitsipas said. “I feel like Mexicans share a lot of common things with Greeks and I can see that from people and the food and the culture. There are many similarities and I really like Mexican people. They treat me really well and they’re very hard-working and humble and very ethical in many ways.”

Tsitsipas is back in Mexico this week to make his debut at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, an ATP 500 event. The players are not allowed to enjoy the beach and various water activities like they usually can in Acapulco, but Tsitsipas is happy to be able to see a stunning view of the water from his hotel room.

“It is definitely something refreshing and nourishing to have this. I feel much more energised, I feel much better being exposed to the sun and finally getting a tan, which I wasn’t given the opportunity [to do in] the past couple of weeks,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s a very nice setup and a very nice location for tennis.”

There are nine 23-and-under players in the Acapulco draw, with three more competing in the final round of qualifying Monday. Tsitsipas, the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, is excited to be part of this young group of rising stars surging towards the top of the sport.

“I think that being part of the top three era is a great experience. The things that they have achieved is a great example for the younger generation to show what we can achieve as players and athletes on the ATP Tour,” Tsitsipas said. “We have players like Zverev, we have player players like Shapovalov, we have players like De Minaur, Tiafoe, Auger-Aliassime, so many great players that offer different kinds of personalities and charisma, I think. We’re going to have amazing battles against one another in the future, and I’m sure many of us will come close to Grand Slam opportunities and Masters 1000 opportunities.

“That’s what makes our sport so exciting in the future, to see all these different personas and all these different variations of players come out and promote the sport, elevate the sport in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

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Tsitsipas, who will begin his Acapulco run against Benoit Paire, is off to a 10-3 start in 2021. The Greek star, No. 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, reached his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. The 22-year-old is pushing to break through that barrier at the biggest events. The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion is pursuing his first major trophy and ATP Masters 1000 crown.

“I’m really close. I think what lacks when it comes to my performance in order to make a [Grand Slam] final is probably a little bit more experience. I just think I need a little bit more confidence when I face these players,” Tsitsipas said. “I see no reason to not keep trying and make it again to a Grand Slam semi-final and learn from my previous experiences and take my chances and go for it without fear. I don’t have to overthink it.”

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