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December 30, 2021

Apostolos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Michail Pervolarakis

Petros Tsitsipas

Markos Kalovelonis

Aristotelis Thanos

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team Greece

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to Team Greece for your third participation in the ATP Cup. Captain, how do you see your first tie?

APOSTOLOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, it's going to be a beautiful experience for us, because we already participating the third year already in the ATP Cup. The players already have the experience, they have the previous years, played difficult matches here.

I think Poland has a good team, and we have also a good team and we are ready for that.

Q. Stefanos, obviously one of the interesting things about this is you can play two matches each day if you play doubles. I'm curious how special is it not only representing your country but when you have an opportunity to potentially play singles and then go right back out for your country, what does that mean for you? Does it affect your mindset?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Can you repeat the question?

Q. Playing No. 1, you play the second match and then you could potentially have doubles after that. I'm curious, does that affect your mindset, knowing you might have to play two matches?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: In which way? In which way does it affect my mindset?

Q. Knowing, because usually you have one match in a day, playing a tournament, but here you could potentially play more.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I have faith in my team, and I think we can sort it out in two matches, not have to go all the way to three.

Q. Sure. You're with your dad all year, you play doubles with your brother, but how special is it in this setting, representing your country with them and the rest of your teammates?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, for us, ATP Cup, it means a lot, because we get to play against these countries that we don't usually get to play in Davis Cup events.

For each and single one of us representing Greece on an ATP Cup level just means a lot. I know people are here to watch good tennis. I know there is plenty of Greek-Australians that are going to go wild watching us play.

Team competitions, we are known as Greece to excel in team events, such as football and basketball, so it's in our nature. We love playing team events, and that's where we leave the best out of ourselves on court.

I think we have a team of young players that just, we are just more hungry than anyone else. That's what makes us kind of stand out and we have so much energy, starting next week.

Q. Michail, obviously you have played in this event before. What did you learn from those experiences that you were able to take with you through the rest of the season? What are you looking forward to the most about being back?

MICHAIL PERVOLARAKIS: Yeah, first of all, it's really special for me and for the rest of the guys to be playing these events, because we don't get to do that the rest of the year, really. I mean, that's our goal to be playing ATP events for the whole year, but the reality is that we're not right now.

So, yeah, being able to start the year off playing in this high level and carrying this level into my next tournaments, it's always a goal.

So, yeah, I'm really excited for the experience. Yeah.

Q. Petros, you played with your brother at some pretty big events before, but what's special about this event for you?

PETROS TSITSIPAS: What's special about this event? It's like Mich said, we don't usually, most of us players from Greece, get the chance to play such a big organized event as ATP Cup.

Based on, I mean, most of us played it already twice. It's a great tournament, great atmosphere. The fans are really involved with the players. You know you're playing for your country obviously, so that's also extra.

In general, yeah, it happens once a year. Davis Cup, as well, once a year. So it's a great opportunity to form as a team and just enjoy and give our best.

Q. You're with Stef all year, with Petros, but representing the country and being there and playing for Greece, how much extra does that give for you?

APOSTOLOS TSITSIPAS: For sure it's always honor to play for your country, and I'm sure a lot of Greeks are watching us. I'm really happy that I am with my players here and it's happens to be my sons, as well (smiling).

But mainly, they are my players right now, and we have a lot of job to do together. That makes it very special, of course.

Q. Stefanos, can I ask you, what was your reaction when you heard Novak wasn't going to be playing at this tournament? Do you hope he does make his way out here to play in Melbourne?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It's his decision. I don't say for him. If he thinks he's not ready to play here for whatever reason, it's his choice. I think most of the players respect his choice. He has the freedom to choose. What can I say?

I guess the ATP Cup is going to lack one great player this year, and for the Serbian fans that came last year, that's something that they won't have the opportunity to experience this year, which happens in all sports. That's all I can say.

Q. He obviously has his reasons for not being here in terms of being in Australia. Do you feel that's fair as a fellow player the reasons he's not being, I suppose, welcomed into the country at this point?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Look, the rules are rules, and the rules are established for a certain purpose and the reason. So there are certain parameters that have to be followed in order to make certain things happen.

So if some players decide not to follow them, it's their choice. I wouldn't say it's right or wrong here. You know, I was really looking forward on coming to Australia, and I follow whatever was necessary in order for me to come, and I'm super glad to be playing here. The Australian summer is one of my favorite parts of the season, and I just love being here.

Whether it's in Sydney or in Brisbane or Melbourne, the overall vibe is great.

Q. Stefanos, just wondering, with Novak potentially not being here, Roger already withdrawing, Rafa under a cloud, how do you assess your prospects looking ahead to the Australian Open and against that next generation in general to really make the most of it and get a Grand Slam under the belt?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I guess that's how it is going to be generally in few years' time, potentially maybe in three years' time. So getting used to it earlier, it's pretty much a new reality.

Let's see how tennis works out without the top three. I really want to see which players are going to prevail at this point.

Q. Do you feel like it's up to, like you're one of the key men in driving that new generation? Do you feel a responsibility to lead that through?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don't see any responsibilities. I'm playing for myself. If young kids are inspired by what I do and what my fellow players do, what my teammates do, then I have done my job right and they have done their job right. It's great to see younger generations of players, younger kids get the chance to see tennis at such high level. I think we are able to bring tennis at a very high level, because we have something different to offer than what Djokovic or Federer or Nadal have.

It's not our responsibility. It's just we have to work hard every single day and bring the best out of this game and set the bar high.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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