The youngster has emerged as one of the best talents on the men’s tour, and is into his fifth Grand Slam semi-final. Here’ we explore Stefanos Tsitsipas’ relationship with his coach, and father, Apostolos, ahead of the match.
23-year-old Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas is into the semi-finals of the 2022 Australian Open where he will face no.2 seed Daniil Medvedev.
It is a rematch of last year’s semi-final in Melbourne, which Medvedev won in straight sets. Tsitsipas made light work of his quarter-final match, beating Italy’s Jannik Skinner in straight sets. The world no.4 and 2021 French Open finalist will be looking to win his first Grand Slam title in Sunday’s final, should he get past the Russian.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ parents sacrificed a lot
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ parents are Julia Apostol (née Salnikova) and Apostolos Tsitsipas. The Greek star comes from a tennis background as his mother, who is Russian, was a professional on the WTA Tour, cracking the WTA’s Top 200 in singles and doubles.
Tsitsipas picked up a racket aged three and started taking lessons at six. He quickly took to the sport and, by the time he was 12, someone needed to travel with him to tournaments. Apostolos quit his job and became his son’s full-time coach, while his mother remained at home with the rest of the family.
Since then, Apostolos Tsitsipas has been his son’s coach and has proudly supported him. “I don’t know if he had a choice, but he just risked it. He just quit himself and started travelling with me,” Stefanos said in 2018 interview at Wimbledon. “I do appreciate what he did for me, because it’s amazing. Not many fathers would do this for their son.”
Tsitsipas’ work with other coaches
While Apostolos Tsitsipas has been Stefanos’ coach from the beginning, the Greek tennis ace has also been coached by several other people. In 2015, Tsitsipas started training at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in France, ran by Patrick Mouratoglou, who is also the coach of Serena Williams.
During the pandemic, the 23-year-old also started working with Colombian Jaime Cortes. Cortes is a former professional tennis player who runs a tennis academy in Bogotá. He was brought onto Tsitsipas’ team to help with the mental side of the game.
Nevertheless, Apostolos remains a strong presence. “I’m learning every day,” Apostolos told ATPTour.com in 2018. “Hopefully one day I will be a good enough coach for my son for his future demands and his future dreams.”
Sometimes he can get himself in a bit of trouble
During his third-round match at the Australian Open against Benoît Paire, Stefanos and his father got into a spot of trouble. Tsitsipas received an on-court coaching violation as Apostolos was seen giving advice to him during the match.
Eurosport presenter and former world no.1 Mats Wilander was critical of the elder Tsitsipas, saying: “At some point his father needs to get out of there.”
Tim Henman echoed Wilander’s words, adding: “It will make Stefanos a better player if he works it out for himself. If he always has his dad in his ear saying ‘serve here, run there’ I don’t think he develops. To see the way he played and behaved in the fifth set was really impressive.”