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January 3, 2023

Petros Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Maria Sakkari

Stefanos Sakellaridis

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Team Greece

Press Conference


6-3, 6-2

Team Greece - 4

Team Belgium - 1

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the press conference of Team Greece. First of all, congratulations to Team Greece. You have qualified for the city final here in Perth.

Captain, you said here yesterday that you wanted to have a good win today. As you wish, all three matches were three victories. How do you feel now?

CAPTAIN TSITSIPAS: We all feel amazing, I'm sure. So many great things happened today on the court. Maria started off amazing. 6-1, 6-4, very, very clean win.

MARIA SAKKARI: 7-5. It's okay.

CAPTAIN TSITSIPAS: Maria performed amazing. She did everything right and kept it till the end very clean.

I mean, second match, you guys, I mean, we all experienced something phenomenal. Isn't that right? No expectations, and he managed to pull out his first ATP win, which is amazing. So he has 100% record (laughter). I don't think many guys on the tour have this record. You probably are the only one.

He did amazing job. We are very proud of him. He showed some excellent tennis, some excellent skills. Yeah, I mean, I don't have anything to add up. That was amazing. We all felt amazing.

Then mixed doubles obviously we decided to put Stefanos and Maria because we know how important it is to get that extra win in order to qualify for the semifinals. They did amazing job as well on the doubles field. Kept it composed. Two sets, which was what we needed.

And, yeah, we are looking forward for tomorrow's match, whoever it is, we are ready to compete.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congrats, guys. If I can ask Stefanos at the back, you looked really calm serving out at the end of that match there. Did you have any nerves before the match?

STEFANOS SAKELLARIDIS: I was quite surprised actually. Throughout the match I didn't panic or something, I was quite calm. I have to admit that when I got into the match point it was first time I actually feel, I gotta win this point. That is the moment which I actually really stressed out. Luckily he made the mistake there and...

MARIA SAKKARI: You pushed him (smiling).

Q. Petros, the team atmosphere in the team zone looks really great. Can you feel that helping the players on court, the kind of atmosphere you are creating there?

CAPTAIN TSITSIPAS: 100%. As I said yesterday, everyone is playing their part in this team. Even if they are on court, off court. Maria and Stefanos are doing a great job encouraging everyone if they are not playing, which I think is very important for the team. I think when the two best players are active off the court, helping out each other, is always, gives it always a huge advantage to the other players to perform better.

That's what happened today with Stefanos, Jr. Stefanos, Jr. had some great quality talk with Stefanos over the last few days, and as you can see, I'm sure it helped him to deliver today the way he did.

Yeah, we all are getting along with each other. That's very important, especially in a team event. We're just, you know, relaxed. Every day we wake up and we're just looking forward to step all together inside the tennis court and just enjoy and support each other.

Q. Stefanos, Sr., can I ask...


MARIA SAKKARI: Senior. How old are you, 24 now? Veteran.

Q. Obviously you don't know who you are going to play tomorrow, but if it's Borna Coric, obviously you had two tough losses to him last year. Will that motivate you more if it is Coric you end up playing?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Let's not speculate, let's not make assumptions. Let's just wait for the day to end and see what we're faced with.

Q. If I could just ask about the mixed doubles partnership. Are you surprised how quickly your games have gelled? Two good wins in the mixed doubles, since last time you played was quite a few years ago.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: It has been our best match so far with Maria. It's good to get these kind of matches even when, let's say, they don't come as much as if the overall score would be tied up. This gives us an opportunity to explore further, to experiment a little bit more with certain things, and figure out what truly works for us.

Q. Maria, congratulations. You have been playing her since 2014. Do you remember your first matches in those futures tournaments, including India?

MARIA SAKKARI: Was it in India? I remember the one in Sharm El Sheikh. So I know Elise since, I don't remember, was 11, 12 years old. We are the same age. She has been a very consistent player, winning a lot of big titles. Obviously that year where she won Doha, she was No. 12 in the world. Everyone respect her, respect her game.

I knew it was not going to be easy, of course. She has been around, so she's experienced. I just tried, you know, to make her feel uncomfortable on the court like I try to do with every opponent.

Today was a better day for me tennis-wise on the court than it was the other day. I think that day by day and match by match I'm going to improve my level and just, you know, try and help the team as far as I can.

Q. Can you talk about the moments in the match where you were up 6-1, 4-2, then she comes back, wins three games, and then you only lose one more point. What did you tell yourself to focus on that point when you are 4-5 down?

MARIA SAKKARI: I told myself I have done it many times. There is no reason why you cannot do it again. Just think of what you have to do in the next point and just do it. That's what I think has got me to this level, and I think that's why I was able to execute that.

Of course, you know, just not rushing and just making more balls really helped.

Q. Stefanos, Jr., could you talk a little about the challenges of building your career? I know you're here with your sister, you're both playing a lot of ITF tournaments. Then you have a couple other siblings. Can you talk about the challenges of building a professional career from the bottom?

STEFANOS SAKELLARIDIS: I try to understand.

Actually, I feel quite fortunate. I'm in the tour with my brothers and my siblings. You know, there is always a hitting partner for me or somebody to hit with or some like members in the family which go through the same things I go, so you can, how can I say, share the feelings and stuff. So actually, I don't feel it's a challenge. It's something positive.

Q. For the younger Stefanos, can I just ask, what were your range of emotions after winning? How do you reflect on that right now?

STEFANOS SAKELLARIDIS: When we all celebrated on the court, there was a lot of emotions going on. I mean, again, I want to thank the team (smiling). I really like they all come inside to celebrate with me.

Yeah, after that I still try to understand what's going on with the situation. Now of course all the emotions are mixed and in my chest, I can feel them (smiling).

Yeah, that's it. That's it. Not too much. Now I have to get ready for tomorrow.

MARIA SAKKARI: We need to give something to him to sleep. I think it's not going to be a sleep day.

Q. Maria, excellent start to your season obviously. I asked this of older Stefanos yesterday. How were you sort of feeling at this stage, this year compared to previous years at this time of the year?

MARIA SAKKARI: Well, I can tell you it's a lot better than last year. Last year I was in Adelaide. I didn't want to be there. I felt like the gap between the Finals and Adelaide was very, very small last year. I was not used to that. It was very emotional, you know, the end of the season, and I just was not ready to start again 2022.

Well, this year I had the experience of just from what I felt last year to try and, you know, handle it better. But obviously the fact that it's a team event and I'm having a good time here, you know, we get along really well. We are like witnessing very unique moments, and it's just that we get to share all this joy and all this happiness all together. It makes my time here in Australia and my preparation for the Australian Open a lot easier.

Q. You said earlier, maybe last week, you were just feeling physically at your peak after a big preseason. Do you feel like that's going to carry you right through this Australian summer at this stage? Do you feel that's really behind you at the moment and pushing you forward?

MARIA SAKKARI: I mean, I still have to maintain it. It's not like I lay on the sofa and expect to have the same fitness levels as I'm having now.

You know, I like to, you know, work on the court, in the gym, and just trying to take it to a different level. Obviously I want to peak in the Australian Open, but I don't want to think about it now and just what I want to do is just, as I said earlier, try and help my team to get as far as we can.

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