The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas’ burgeoning career, but he remains philosophical about the tennis shutdown.
The world No. 6 would have been preparing for the French Open that was originally scheduled to start this weekend, but was postponed to September.
While he is missing life on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas believes that the lockdown has given the planet a breather.
“I actually think they should put us in lockdown once a year — it’s good for nature, it’s good for our planet,” Tsitsipas said in an Instagram Live conversation for At Home With Babsi on Eurosport’s Instagram page. “I think it will be environmentally very beneficial. Life is such a hustle, and you never get the time to spend with your family and connect with them. Now it’s an opportunity to do so. It takes me back to when I was a young kid and I didn’t travel so much then.”
With professional tennis unlikely to return before early August, Tsitsipas said that the most difficult thing has been training without an end goal.
“I practice every day. Of course I don’t put 100 percent in, but at the same time, I’m planning on gradually getting better,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s a process. It’s tricky — you have so much time in front of you and you don’t know when things are going to get back to normal. Right now, I am taking it easy. I’m not pushing myself to the limit and I’m not resting. There is a good contrast in between the two.”
At last year’s French Open, Tsitsipas was tipped to make his Grand Slam breakthrough, but lost out in an epic battle with former champion Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.
Tsitsipas said that the defeat still weights on his mind.
“I felt heartbroken. It was a difficult one to get over and I felt I was really close,” he said.
Tsitsipas admired US great Pete Sampras, who also had Greek parentage.
“Pete Sampras was one of my idols,” he said. “I got to meet him at Indian Wells a few years ago. His game style was unique, amazing serve and volley game — and he also has a Greek heritage of course. He was a great athlete and the guy I believe revolutionized the one-handed backhand.”
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