In an emotional letter to tennis, published on the official ATP website, Stefanos Tsitsipas told his story. Il Greco wrote: “Dear, tennis. I remember the first time I met you. It was 2001. Both my parents, Apostolos and Julia, introduced me to this beautiful sport that I practice today.
What seemed special to me was that I felt like I was part of a playground. My playground, where there were no rules or limits. I fell in love with you when I was eight years old and won my first tournament in Normandy, France.
I would wake up during the night and tell my father: Consider me out of any other sport, football, swimming, athletics, because I only want to play tennis and it will be my sport for the rest of my life.
I played my first match on the ATP Tour in Rotterdam in 2017.
I was still a junior at that time and my first opponent was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I was a free-spirited tennis player who played without thinking about the consequences.
That match taught me to carefully select my shots and made me become more mature.
Since then, I have come a long way. I won very complicated matches and suffered some really tough defeats, which did not allow me to sleep because of the pain and suffering I felt for not having won a match that I should have won.
At times, I even felt hatred towards you. One of the memorable moments you gave me is my first success in a Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, where I feel at home. I used to watch the tournament when I was little and winning brought back so many emotions and made me feel nostalgic.
They are sensations that you cannot exchange with anything else. You taught me to live life as it is, to never doubt myself and simply continue living regardless of the results.
I have always committed myself with devotion during this journey.
Every single day, I am grateful that I chose you. I hope that in the future we will feel mutual love towards each other. I hope my children can continue my tradition and be a part of you.” Several players have often referred to this love-hate relationship they share with tennis.
Every professional athlete has the great ambition of always performing to the best of their ability or of bringing home the result on bad days. Managing tension and controlling emotions is not easy when you compete at high levels with the knowledge that you have given everything to achieve your goals.