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December 29, 2022

Petros Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Despina Papamichail

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Team Greece

Press Conference

S. TSITSIPAS/G. Dimitrov

4-6, 6-2, 7-6

Team Greece - 2

Team Bulgaria - 0

THE MODERATOR: First of all, congratulations to Team Greece. You won both matches today. Great start for you on the first match day.

Captain, how do you feel about the results?

CAPTAIN PETROS TSITSIPAS: It was a great first day, I would say. A great start from the team. The beginning, Despina came back from a very difficult match. Managed to pull through. It was a bit tight in the first set, but then she regained momentum and she changed her tactics, got into the match and finished strong, which it's always very important to start with a win, especially when it's an event like this.

Then Stefanos, I think the quality of the match against Grigor was phenomenal. Grigor played perfect tennis in the first set. Stef managed to do amazing job to come back. He stayed very consistent. Grigor dropped his level a bit.

Then the third set was a joy to watch for everyone. Was a very fair set, I would call it. In the end, Stefanos found a way to dig in and get these mini breaks, and he served amazing to close out the match, which was very, very important.

We're very happy that we start with the 2-0 advantage against Bulgaria.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Despina, how much confidence do you get from that win?

DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: Yeah, I do get a lot of confidence. In the beginning my thoughts were a bit all over. I wasn't focused so much in the match. I was focused in the arena and in my team and the event itself. So yeah, I wasn't able to express my tennis.

I had to stay there, to insist, to stay positive because I work hard this preseason, and I knew that I could play much better. In the end, it paid out, and I am really happy I could help my team. We have our goals, and I'm happy I helped them out with that.

Q. When you noticed Isabella was looking a bit hampered, did that give you even a bigger boost to try and turn the momentum?

DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: Yeah, it's tricky, because you can think either, oh, she's injured so maybe she will miss, and then if your intensity goes down, then it's not easy. I know she's a very aggressive player. So I thought maybe she will even go more aggressive.

But I stayed there. I knew that if she's having some trouble with injuries, then I will stay as long as it takes in order to take the win home.

Q. Stefanos, a perfect start, I suppose, given you not only got the win but that match had sort of a bit of everything. Can you run us through how you felt about it?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yeah, a lot of drama. Both of us I think were serving extremely well during the course of the entire match. There weren't a lot of moments that I felt like I could do something except the second set, which went really smoothly from my side.

I went to the bathroom, I tried to regain my focus levels and kind of processed what was going on in the first set. I came back fresher and very determined, which gave me a double break in the second set, something, you know, better than I was aiming for. I think that it was a very good sort of memory that I created in that particular match today.

Third set, both of us serving high percentages of first serve, using our forehands to attack and open the court. You know, similar gaming styles, in a way. We were fighting it out on the court. Made ourselves all the way to the tiebreaker.

From there on, I knew that it's all about one mistake, who is going to make the least mistakes, who is going to be the most focused out of the two. You know, Grigor gave an unforced error from the first point of the tiebreaker. I knew that this is my moment to really go for it. I tried to suppress all emotions. I tried to stay within the moment, let any negative thoughts out of my head, and I continued and cruised from that point onwards.

Had a very good success in my first serves. Of course a very nice forehand winner on a crucial point of the tiebreaker. I think it was at 5-3 or 5-4, yeah, which came off the racquet really nicely.

Q. You saved multiple breakpoints throughout, especially in that third set. Do you feel like that just gave you confidence towards that tiebreaker? You sort of lifted another gear then.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes. Yes, absolutely. I think he had more breakpoint opportunities today than me. I stayed calm. I stayed well composed.

You know, in these moments, you have just got to stay in the moment. You cannot start predicting or thinking about the future. I managed that extremely well. I was able to serve big first serves. Didn't let myself get back on defense, very rarely, and these moments define me.

Q. I know you don't play again till Monday. Do you have any plans for your big break? Just training? Do you let yourself relax, wind down?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I will continue training. I will continue practicing every single day. Now it's the other half of the team that has to do their part and their job. I'm going to be there supporting them and continue enjoying Perth.

Q. Despina, as Petros said, you changed your tactics in the second set, hitting a lot more winners. Is that what you were concentrating on?

DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: Of course if you hit winners, it's easier. But I concentrated more. She was hitting more than me, she's a more powerful player. I tried to make more angles for her to move, because I felt like I was not doing enough with the ball.

I tried to move her more to create some more angles, play some more topspin, so then she could step back and then I could get an easy ball to attack. Yeah, basically that was -- she had to move, because I was playing very defensive.

Q. Stefanos, on the court, Despina said that you inspired her to come back and fight her heart out. When you were down a set, did you remember Despina was down a set as well?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Well, at this point, you have just got to fight. There is no easy solution, no easy recipe in order to win that match. So, you know, I knew that deep inside I have been faced with those situations a lot of times in my career.

The opponent might relax. The opponent might start being a bit looser, not being as concentrated, but, you know, you have one more opportunity to prove yourself out on the court and I did. In that second set I played very high level of tennis.

The third set was, it was close. Both of us were punching each other, hitting winners, coming to the net, being aggressive. You know, it was sort of kind of equal until we reached the tiebreaker.

Q. We saw your teammates cheering you both on while you were on court. I'm sure you felt the energy. Was there anything specific that your teammates said to you that specifically helped in the match?

DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: I mean, as we said, Greece is a very family-oriented country, so we all know that we cheer for each other. We are like a family.

I loved seeing them there supporting me. It was just a whole, the whole thing, you know, I knew everybody wanted me to win and I wanted to win for them as well. So it wasn't anything in particular. We spoke tactics, which I made better, but cheering-wise, I appreciate the love from every single member of the team.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: For me, we are still trying to figure out which place has better souvlaki: Perth, Melbourne, or Sydney (smiling). So that has occupied a big portions of our conversations. We are trying to spot the differences.

Each city has something on its own in Australia. We do talk a lot about tennis. We find time during the day to a bit zone out and do other things. But overall, I love the chemistry. I mean, we are still early in the tournament, but, you know, we kind of know each other for many years.

I have been following Despina now for the last, I would say, six to eight years, I don't know exactly the amount, but we started playing from the same junior tournaments in Greece. We have built our way up. It's beautiful sharing this moment with every single one of them, having kind of come from the same neighborhood, tennis neighborhood in Greece. Now we get to compete in front of such big stages, and being so passionate and supportive and devoted to one another when each and every one of us tries to do their best on the court.

It's a magical thing for me personally but also for the fact that we have a country that does develop so much in tennis. I do like that a lot, yeah.

Q. In 2019 when you played Hopman Cup here, you were the underdogs in the top stage of tennis and now you're the top seeds. Do you think about how far the country and the team has come?

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I believe every player here can improve their career high. So, you know, I have been trying to go about my path, and so has Maria. We still have a lot of potential in front of us as much as, you know, the ladies and the gentlemen that are behind us in ranking.

You know, I'm there to support them as much as I can. It is not easy when I travel so much to keep in touch with them, but, you know, if there is anything they need, I'm always available and willing to help and provide for my country. This is an important quality that every, in each of us share. As Despina said, we are family oriented. We have belief and faith in each other. We are well connected. We are there for each other, and that's what makes our team the team that it is right now.

Q. Petros, how did you find your first experience of being a captain on the sidelines as the match was going on?

CAPTAIN PETROS TSITSIPAS: Very, very fun, for sure. Something new, different. I mean, I'm pretty young. Many people know this. I'm 22 years old. So it's not an easy task to be a captain, but I see the exciting side of it, the fun side of it. It's very interesting. You learn a lot from the players.

I really enjoyed today watching Despina and Stefanos perform. Yeah, I'm really happy to help the team to get the best out of the competition. Our goal is to win the whole event if possible, and we are going to do everything in order to achieve this.

But it's also very important to enjoy as well, and so far we do really enjoy the chemistry between all of us individually and together.

Q. Obviously as a team you are in a very strong position going into tomorrow, so you could wrap it up in the first rubber or it could get down to mixed doubles. Do you have any thoughts who you will play in mixed doubles in that scenario?

CAPTAIN PETROS TSITSIPAS: I think that's not a very easy decision to make. I think all of us in the team can play very well doubles. I mean, obviously Stefanos and Maria are good doubles player. Despina is a very good doubles player, as well. Valentini.

We actually have quite a lot -- I mean, all of us can play doubles. We'll just see how it goes and how we feel after the matches, how the players, if they are going to perform in singles, feel after the matches, and we are going to decide probably last moment.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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