Sakkari on pal Tsitsipas: For me, he's a champion and will come back stronger

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Sakkari on pal Tsitsipas: For me, he's a champion and will come back stronger

Greek tennis star Maria Sakkari says she has not spoken to compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas after his tough five-set loss at the US Open against Borna Coric. Tsitsipas held six matchponts in the fourth set against Coric before going down in five sets - 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4).

The two players are close friends and even played Hopman Cup together for Greece last year. After winning her third round match in New York, Sakkari was asked if she had been in touch with her friend since his loss.

Maria Sakkari says good friend Steafnos Tsitsipas will bounce back after his loss

"I know it's tough.

I didn't want to text him or anything so soon, because I know it hurts. I have never played five sets in my life, and I'm sure it's going to hurt even more. We feel for him, every single player, because it's tough, you know, losing after having six match points.

I think I never lost a match with that many match points. But I'm sure he's going to bounce back because he's a strong guy mentally. I have a lot of confidence in him, and, you know, he's a great player. For me, he's a champion, so he's for sure going to come back stronger."

Sakkari comes from a tennis family - her mother, Angelikí Kanellopoúlou, is a former top 50 tennis player herself. But while some parents have been criticized for putting too much preesure on their kids, Sakkari says her mom is quite the opposite, and helps her ease the pressure that she puts on herself.

"It's going to sound a little bit silly, but since I was a young kid I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. That's the way I was as a character. So she would be like, Just go hit and enjoy it. It sounds enough very common, but that's the thing she has been telling me since I was 11 and up until today.

To be honest now, she's even like, Come on, and if you lose, what happens? For example, in Palermo she didn't want me to go there because she was scared of the virus. So before the match, she said, You know what? Even if you lose, I don't care.

You can come back home safe (smiling). She's super relaxed and she really wants me to enjoy because she knows that doesn't last forever." Maria Sakkari is currently the world No. 22 and has been as high as No. 20 earlier this year.