Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22, came a long way to be where he is now as over a decade he had to leave Greece as his native country had no tennis culture and he was offered no financial support. "Thinking of it now, I’m very proud that I managed it in the right way and I didn’t freak out,” Tsitsipas told The Guardian.
“I could have easily freaked out and felt more the pressure of it at the time”. After it became obvious that Tsitsipas was extremely talented, the Tsitsipas family fully focused on Stefanos' development and they were fully committed to helping him become a professional tennis player.
Tsitsipas father, Apostolos, quit his job so he could travel alongside him and they were receiving financial support from his maternal aunt and other external sources "My cousins were unemployed, my father’s siblings were also unemployed.
There was no income from family," Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas had to deal with some negative stuff
Greece was going through a financial crisis and Tsitsipas was looked different every where he would go. "I felt like I was being judged although it was not really my fault, I had nothing to do with any of that.
That was difficult for me as a kid. I always felt like a minority wherever I went and I wanted to prove them wrong, what they thought. And I think that also, in a way, made me stronger. Looking back, it just made me want to be better," Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas, ranked at No. 6 in the world, admits he is introverted and he can't be hanging out and getting close with anybody. "Whenever I’m about to make a new friend or let that person come close and be more part of my life, I have to make sure things are under control and that I approve of that,” Tsitsipas said.
"Because I don’t want to be letting in random people that want to hurt me and want to be a bad influence in my life. Being introverted, with the opposite gender it took a long time for me to feel comfortable and express my emotions and everything.
I did it, I would say, later in my life and [it is] unusual, kind of, for boys”. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas, who went all the way at the Nitto ATP Finals last year, has started his title defence at The O2 Arena with a 1-1 record.