Being one of the top 10 players in the world for several years now, Stefanos Tsitsipas for sure knows the ups and downs of the road to success and the mindset it takes to follow it continuously. We had the opportunity to meet the Greek tennis star at Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi and talk with him about his passions beside the court, the most important learnings in his career and his key to success…
What have you seen so far in Abu Dhabi – beside the tennis court?
So far I have completed my list of visiting the ten biggest malls in the world. We were going to the YAS mall in Abu Dhabi, which is second biggest in the world after Dubai Mall. I have to say, that the Emirates do really know, how to create malls. It’s a great experience to be in one of them, feeling like a kid in a candy store. I also would really like to visit the monumental mosque, which I have seen on the internet and friends of mine have already visited when in Abu Dhabi, so I’d really like to explore this.
“I have to say, that the Emirates do really know, how to create malls. It’s a great experience to be in one of them, feeling like a kid in a candy store.”Stefanos Tsitsipas
What do you generally love to do on a day off?
I like hitting the spa, taking care of myself. I think as a man it is very important. I know some neglect it, but it makes me feel good. I also enjoy playing other sports on a day off. Basketball for sure is a passion of mine. I also like soccer, although I don’t play it as much as there is too much danger of getting injured, but I really enjoy watching it. What I also enjoy, is watching educational videos – about geography, geo-politics or science. This is what I’m most likely to spend some time with.
The tennis documentary „Break Point“ will be out on Netflix on January 13th. Can you give us a little outview?
What you see on “Break Point” is unedited, raw footage of who I am. I have a deal with myself, that I’m not going to be fluttering anything and things are going to be the way they are in my daily life – how I live my life of the tennis court and outside of it as well. I don’t think, people want to see diplomacy in these kind of instances, because we get a lot of it already. It is important, to unveil every character’s personality and real self. I’m also curious myself, what stories are going to be told, and I think, it is interesting for young kids. I wish, I had this, when I was young, to get a closer look at my own personal heroes and idols.
What is tennis is teaching you for everyday life?
It is teaching me to develop a thicker skin in terms of the lows, which are very frequent in my sport, and it builds up character. It helps to deal with difficult situations in my personal life and helps to cope. What Tennis has taught me as well, is fast decision making and just moving on to the next thing and not looking back. Sometimes it might look like it’s a cold attitude, but life brings things and takes away things so we gotta keep on working and don’t let it affect you in any way.
⠀”I’ve learned to be a masochist.”⠀
What do you think is the key to being a successful tennis player?
I think, it is important to stay open minded and to be willing to accept new thoughts and new things. It is difficult to get there, as we all have a comfort zone, that we are not comfortable exceeding. Not many people like taking risks in terms of their career, but it is important to keep an open mind in that and to be able to continue suffering. Without suffering you’re not going to get good results. If you’re not willing to put those hours on the court, where you are going to sweat a lot, where you are going to have sore muscles for two days. This is the type of work you should be aiming for. There is nothing good, that comes from your comfort zone. And something, that I’ve learned the hard way, is in a way to be a masochist. I know it sounds a bit heavy, but you have to be that in order to get number one and to exceed your limits, because not many people are willing to do that. If you have that mentality installed within you, that is the key, the main condition to achieving excellence in what you do.
Photo: © IMAGO / AAP