December 28, 2022
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Team Greece. The first question to the captain, could you help us introduce your team and tell us your team's preparation here in Perth.
PETROS TSITSIPAS: Of course. Our top male player of the team, Stefanos Tsitsipas. I'm sure many of you guys know him. As well as our first female player of the team, Maria Sakkari.
Then followed by Michail Pervolarakis, our second male player of the team, with Despina as our second female player of the team.
Then as our third male player we have Stefanos Sakellaridis, he's a new member, I would say. But United Cup is a new event. He's the youngest player of the team, 18 years old. It's a great experience for him, I assume. Then as our third female tennis player, we have Valentini Grammatikopoulou.
Then it's me as the fourth player of the team on the male side. And then Sapfo Sakellaridi.
That's pretty much the team.
THE MODERATOR: How is the preparation so far, the experience in Perth?
PETROS TSITSIPAS: We really love it here. It's going to be great experience. A very nice event for sure. It's a new event. We can't wait to start tomorrow, do our best. Our goal is to win the whole event, as many other teams, for sure. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be long seven, eight days, but we are ready for it. We are prepared. I think we have a big shot in making it till the end.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Starting with the siblings, what's that like being on the same team together? Have you experienced it before in any other scenario?
STEFANOS SAKELLARIDIS: Obviously it's a great experience that we can have the family for good success, that we are both able to come here. It's also like the whole atmosphere in the team, it's very fun.
It all feels like a family actually, so... It's nice.
Q. Do you try to annoy each other? What's the relationship like between you two?
STEFANOS SAKELLARIDIS: No, it's not really a competitive one. More friendly.
Q. Stefanos, you start off tomorrow, one of the first matches on court. How excited are you?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: First of all, I would like to say how glad I am to be back to Perth. Me and Maria had our first Hopman Cup experience here a few years back. We really enjoyed our time here.
I'm glad that the United Cup is a thing now. We've been discussing this for a very long time, combining it with the women. They deserve a spot to this competition, as well. It's really nice to join forces and make this thing come together for both genders.
As Team Greece, I think we have never been stronger. We have a lineup of great players. We've been working really hard during the preseason, all of us, to maximize our chances of getting deep into this tournament. This is a primary goal of ours.
It's important for us to stay focused on what we do. I think our spirit is one of the best among all of the teams. We have a family-oriented mentality in what we pursue. We are extremely collaborative between each other. I think that is something that will give us big chances this year to start this first edition of the United Cup, and be part of history in a way.
I see a future for this event. I see this event taking place for many years to come. I'm happy that Greece gets to be the first in this competition and give ourselves some good points perhaps, get some good experiences -- sorry, get some good experience out of this event.
Q. How do you feel about playing tomorrow? Are you fully prepared?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes. I was fortunate enough to get some exhibition matches a few weeks ago. The feedback is good. I don't want to say too much, but my current feeling is the right direction.
It's a collective competition, so we're all providing for each other. I think that's what makes it so unique.
Q. Stefanos, your matchup with Grigor, you have a very good record against him. What do you expect from him?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Yes, things are different this time. It involves a team. It involves representing your country and nation even more than it is in those individual events.
I have to be ready for everything. I'm sure he has done a lot, put in a lot of work during the preseason. He is probably the freshest he will ever be this season. I need to approach it with the right mentality and get into the match from early on.
Q. Having Petros here must be nice for you. What is it like being on tour with your brother?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Having my brother be part of the team is something that we've been dreaming together for a long time. As boys, we always wanted to be representing our Davis Cup team and be joining forces, doing this together. It's a nice fairy tale in a way.
Of course, we don't get to see each other very often because my brother gets to play some challenger events during the year. But I have a lot of faith in him, as time has shown, now we're able to qualify for our first Australian Open main draw doubles without requiring a wild card. That is a massive progression in recent time. He has shown his willingness to work harder, his willingness to sacrifice even more to get where he wants to be.
I'm really proud of him. His dedication is at its highest. Right now he's our best male doubles player, after me (smiling). He's heading towards the right direction. I think this season is going to be giving him a lot of chances, which I'm very happy for him.
Q. Petros, your feeling about playing with Stefanos, be on tour with him as well?
PETROS TSITSIPAS: It's always a great opportunity. I consider myself very lucky to have this opportunity to play with him in the biggest events. I think that's what every player dreams of as a kid, to be on such a stage and perform and experience so many emotions, so many nice feelings.
Yeah, I cannot ask for anything else. That was our dream since we were kids, like Stefanos said.
Q. Maria, you finished last season strongly. How much confidence are you bringing into this next season?
MARIA SAKKARI: I mean, I think it was very important for myself and for everyone around me just to prove to myself that after having a blip in the middle of the season, that I found a way to find myself again, find my game again in the last two tournaments of the season.
Obviously Guadalajara was a key moment for my 2022 season. Yeah, I mean, I'm going to try and keep the momentum going. Had great feelings going back into the preseason.
Yeah, I've made a few changes during this practice block that I had back home. I'm very confident that things are going to go well next year.
Q. What are your good memories of 2019 Hopman Cup here? How are you going to try to bring that energy into this competition?
MARIA SAKKARI: I mean, yes, those are some of the best memories of my career. Obviously we didn't make it to the finals, but we were very close to. I would say a little bit unlucky with the scoring system. It wasn't a regular scoring system.
I have great memories coming back to Perth. There are a lot of Greek people here. Everywhere in Australia, but also here, which is very important for us.
Yeah, I'm super excited to get started.
Q. Despina, how do you feel about kicking off the competition in the first match?
DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: Being the first match, I feel a bit extra responsibility. But I'm really excited to be here with the team, with such a good players. I'm really looking forward to helping to reach our goal.
Q. You had one of the best years of your career in 2022. What is the most improved about your game?
DESPINA PAPAMICHAIL: Yeah, being more aggressive. I saw a lot of tennis in the TV. I wanted always to be in the high level. I really focused on improving, improving my shots, being more aggressive, trying to be in this level and stay in this level.
Of course, now we are here, and here I'm playing the quallies of the Grand Slams. I want more. I want to be in the main draw, get as better as possible. I believe this year will be even better.
Q. Stefanos, tennis is a very individual sport. What do you enjoy the most about the team dynamic?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: Us tennis players, we miss events like this because it's primarily individual, everything we do. We go about our days with our own teams. We don't get to be part of a team that is either represented by country or some sort of continent.
I've said this in the past, Laver Cup, when I first experienced that, it was one of these events that brought something fresh and new to tennis. We were suddenly competing for the same purpose, for the same goal all together.
It kind of leaves in my head how good that moment was, sharing it with the legends of our sport, one of them retired recently. It's one of those experiences you can never really experience in tennis unless you are part of this team.
You learn so much during that week. That's what we're hoping to do this week together. We're doing this together. We have our eyes on the prize. This can only be achieved by combining our forces, by every single day committing to the game.
For me, team events are my favorite ones when it comes to tennis. I've played football in the past myself. I always kind of felt disappointed by how much I gave or let's say how much it depended on other players regarding their performance. So for me, I have a lot of faith in the players that are currently in our squad. I feel like it can't get any better than that right now. We're really striving for excellence all together.
Q. Valentini, do you have something to add?
VALENTINI GRAMMATIKOPOULOU: Thanks for this question. I'm very excited about it. It's our first time, of course. To represent Greece, it's a really honor. I'm going to do the best to support them. Of course, I'm not playing tomorrow. But we had great preparation. I'm looking forward to have these days with my team and do everything to make it happen that we can go as farther as possible.
MICHAIL PERVOLARAKIS: Yeah, I mean, it's depressing being on tour alone all the time. Having events like that, it's maybe one of the reasons I'm still playing the sport. I mean, this and Davis Cup are events that I enjoy the most out of the year.
Yeah, it's great. Great being here.
Q. Stefanos, the big news today was Nick Kyrgios withdrawing from the tournament. Are you surprised? How do you feel the fact you might have been matching up with him?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: I don't think it's surprise. I don't see it as a surprise. I hope he enjoys his holidays.
Q. A lot of fans are curious to know what was it like playing doubles with him after everything that happened earlier this year?
STEFANOS TSITSIPAS: What can I say? Tough to concentrate, for sure. I've played doubles with a lot of guys, girls as well, not that many actually. Very difficult to concentrate. I don't know where that energy comes from. There's just so much of it.
You want to go about your thing. You want to concentrate on your own half of the court. There's just noise coming from the other side of it. It's distracting. It's not easy.
For sure in the future, having to face that at some point again, that is something that will have to be at its best in order to overcome that sort of obstacle that is presented on the other side of the net.
It's quite unique. I don't know how he does it. Honestly, I don't know.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports