PARIS (Reuters) – Stefanos Tsitsipas is coached by his father Apostolos but having his mother, who is also knowledgeable about tennis, around at the French Open has sometimes proved to be an overdose of information for the fifth-seeded Greek.
Tsitsipas’s father has been a regular at Roland Garros, wearing a mask bearing an image of his son, but the 22-year-old also has his mother Julia in Paris for this year’s claycourt Grand Slam.
“My mom, she knows a lot about tennis,” Greece’s Tsitsipas, who is also guided by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, told reporters with a smile. “Sometimes it can be a bit complicated when she wants to give her own opinion or advice direct to me, then have my dad tell me something else.
“We’ve sat down and we said, ‘Guys, that’s my coach. Whatever opinions or whatever thoughts you have, has to be filtered through Apostolos, my father’. It can get quite hectic.
“Obviously the presence of Patrick, we are a strong, united team. My mom is also a small part of it. She brings a lot to the team, a lot of energy, a lot of good vibes. She is lovely.”
Austrian Dominic Thiem, with whom Tsitsipas is good friends, became the first player outside of tennis’s ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam since 2016 when he claimed the U.S. Open last month.
Tsitsipas, who used to skip school to watch the French Open on TV, has also long been marked out as a future prospect and made his second Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday, after reaching the same stage at last year’s Australian Open.
“Dominic inspires me a lot. What Dominic has achieved is amazing,” Tsitsipas said after defeating Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
“Being able to have back-to-back finals here at the French is truly inspiring. Dominic is someone that makes me understand the game and makes me want to push even further to reach what he has reached.
“He’s a nice guy off the court. Big workaholic on the court. He’s very balanced and a very passionate person in every aspect. I think I can learn a lot from him and add it to my game. From the young guys, he’s someone that I really look up to.”
Tsitsipas feels he is on the right track to achieve his dream of Grand Slam success.
“I’m expecting since a young age to potentially triumph at these Grand Slams. I’m happy that I’m able to be in a position where I am today. Yeah, it’s very, very satisfying,” he said.
“I think I can learn from the previous one. I’m chasing something spectacular.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis)