Stefanos Tsitsipas likely set for Olympic Games mixed doubles U-turn to team with Maria Sakkari

Saturday, 01 June 2024 at 10:11
Stefanos Tsitsipas will likely play mixed doubles after all at the 2024 Olympic Games with the Greek confirming that he will play in particular if his brother Petros manages to qualify to play with him.
Tsitsipas took down Zhizhen Zhang in an expert straight sets win sealing it 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in the end. He will also play mixed doubles for the first time in a Grand Slam with Paula Badosa, his girlfriend. But it seems this isn't just because of a want to fulfil long held ambition of playing mixed doubles together.
Speaking after his victory after Zhang, he confirmed his plans in fact to team with Maria Sakkari, the World No.7 under that caveat. They have previously played at United Cup together and it was initially seen as likely that they'd be one of the favourites for a gold medal. But this was put on the back burner for Tsitsipas despite Sakkari setting her stall out.
“I would like to play mixed doubles because I really think we have a good chance, but as far as I know he’s planning on not playing mixed because he’s playing doubles with his brother,” said Sakkari.
“Everyone knows how good we can play. It’s a 16-draw, you win two matches you’re in the semis and then you get a chance to win a medal … I just feel like it would be unfortunate if we don’t play together, but it’s his decision. From my side I really want to play.”
But Tsitsipas on the other hand had a different view that his brother came first. “What I want to do is clear. If I manage to get in the Olympic Games with my brother Petros, I would want to play singles and doubles with him,” said the 25-year-old in his press conference.
“I would say that playing three events in a single tournament is a bit too much for me, physically taxing, and I would want to avoid that. "I know that it’s the Olympics and it’s a great opportunity to play with Maria, and I completely agree she’s one of the best partners to have in the mixed doubles field. I have had great moments with her.
“But at the same time, I have a dream with my brother I’d like to share and be one of the very few brothers that have ever played together in the Olympics, especially in tennis.
“Nothing is stronger than that dream, and I really want to make this possible for the both of us. It’s family, and combining it with such a large event that dates back to ancient Greece, for us, it’s bigger than anything else.”

Great news (specially for Greeks) Tsitsipas changed his mind and is playing mixed with Sakkari. Initially didn’t want to play all three draws.

Vicky Georgatou
Vicky Georgatou

Stefanos Tsitsipas tells me that if he makes it to the Olympics with his brother, then he will play all three events.


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