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A near drowning, a family bond, artistic flair: The forces behind Tsitsipas

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Even before Stefanos Tsitsipas entered rare territory on Wednesday night by becoming just the third player to give Rafael Nadal a two-set head start before beating him, the young Greek has had tennis pundits sitting up and taking notice.

Aged 22 and a fixture in the men’s top 10 for nearly two years, Tsitsipas is high in the bracket of players tipped to fill the void as the eventual waning of the big three of the men’s game – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Nadal – takes full effect.

The highest-ranked Greek player in history, Tsitsipas plays with distinctive flair – his balance between baseline slogging and charging the net is a plus – but, off the court, his need to feed his creative side and his artistic bent make him stand out from the crowd.

Here’s four key things to know about the rising star:

Life-changing moment
One anecdote in Tsitsipas’ back story really catches the eye. In 2016 a teenage Tsitsipas had a near-drowning experience after being dragged out to sea while swimming with a friend in Crete. His father helped save the pair.

Tsitsipas has several times spoken of the experience and how it shaped his outlook on life. His father Apostolos has also shed light on the moment. “What happened was the result of a mechanism all humans have inside, especially parents,” his father told the BBC.

“When this mechanism magically activates, as it did that day, miracles occur … an essential condition for this to happen is the unconditional faith we have in what we do and what we love. What happened confirmed the love and faith we have for one another, that the sacrifices we make are not in vain.”

Separately, in a video post, Tsitsipas himself has said: “If we were supposed to die and lose our lives that day, we would have to do it together. He was a hero … That was the day I saw life with a different perspective. I remember after that how much psychologically it changed me.”

A family affair
Tsitsipas is the product of tennis-loving parents, and his lineage helps explains why he is where he is. His mother, Julia Salnikova, represented the Soviet Union while his father Apostolos – who you will almost always see courtside – has coached him extensively.

His parents met at an ATP tournament in Athens. Stefanos Tsitsipas was born in the Greek capital and, similar to other tour stars, first picked up a racquet at a tender age. He has three siblings – brothers Petros and Pavlos, and sister Elisavet. The family lives and breathes tennis.

He has had a long involvement with the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in France. A world-renowned coach, Mouratoglou is the man behind Serena Williams and, in recent times, has also regularly been in the Tsitsipas corner, including at this Australian Open.

There’s also a Melbourne familial link for Tsitsipas: his maternal grandfather was an Olympic champion in Melbourne, playing as a striker for the Soviet Union’s soccer team in 1956.

Eye-catching moments
Wednesday’s epic four-hour win was not the first time Tsitsipas has notched an eye-catching victory over a tennis great in Melbourne. At the Australian Open two years ago the then 20-year-old defeated Roger Federer, who was pushing for a third straight title. That win came after a breakout 2018 season for Tsitsipas, who closed out the year by winning the Next Gen ATP Finals, an event that showcases future stars.

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Watch Stefanos Tsitsipas come up clutch in the fifth against the legendary Rafael Nadal.
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The tensest moments in Stefanos Tsitsipas’ career
At the Open in January 2019, Tsitsipas was humbled in the semi-finals by Nadal, winning just six games. Beforehand, he knew he was in for a tough night. “He makes you suffer on the court. He’s a big fighter, fights over every single point,” Tsitsipas explained to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald about the challenge of playing the Spaniard.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 0-40, or 40-0 … his spirit on the court is, whew, extraordinary, you won’t find anything like it in tennis. Energy levels and everything … he makes your life really tough when you’re on the court against him.”

He was proved right. Afterwards, the Greek, seeking to explain his capitulation, said: “I kind of felt empty in my brain.”

A full 24 months on, however, Nadal has two more years in his legs and Tsitsipas is two more years experienced. What was then an inter-generational contest in 2019 became a compelling quarter-final match-up in 2021.

Behind the lens
Tsitsipas has a love for photography and technology. He hosts and produces his own podcast, A Greek Abroad, and unsurprisingly has his own YouTube channel.

When he speaks about his artistic bent, his eyes light up and his passion shines through. In Melbourne three years ago, when he was still a fledgling player, he fed his passion by buying a new camera – funded with his earnings after a first-round defeat.

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Leylah Fernandez: Fans chanting my name at Indian Wells Masters felt surreal

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US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez admitted that hearing fans chant her name at the Indian Wells Masters felt “surreal.” On Friday, Fernandez played her first match since her outstanding US Open campaign and fans in the stands chanted her name.

Fernandez, who is now enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 28 in the world, saw off Alize Cornet 6-2 6-3 to progress into the Indian Wells third round. “It’s surreal. You dream of that happening, but you don’t expect that to happen …

I got goosebumps. Like, even now, my Heart suit is beating so fast … I was so happy,” Fernandez said, per Mark Masters. Fernandez was asked on what did she work after the US Open. “Everything (laughs) … We always try to look for that extra inch, extra millimetre to be better …

We worked on everything,” Fernandez claimed.

Fernandez was thrilled to meet Maria Sharapova
“I was lucky enough to to meet Maria Sharapova at the Met (Gala). We kind of chatted a little bit and she gave me some pretty good advice.

She told me her own experience and the way that she was able to bounce back,” Fernandez revealed. Meanwhile, 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek shared advice for Fernandez and US Open champion Emma Raducanu. “Well I would say balancing all the things you have to do on-court and all the things that [you’ve] been doing for the past years with all that new stuff,” Swiatek explained.

“Because it can overwhelm [you] at the beginning. It was good for me that Roland Garros was the last tournament of the season. I know that [Fernandez and Raducanu] probably have one or two more. “Then they’re going to have a break and they’re going to have time to reflect on [their success].

“Also having the people around you who won’t be pushing you to do more because of public relations or publicity. Just you know maybe staying calm a little bit and waiting for how you will react to all of that.”

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Maria Sharapova Beautiful and Sexy on a Magazine! (PHOTOS INSIDE)

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Here are some sexy shots of Maria Sharapova. The Russian used some free time off the courts to be immortalized by Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine, before Wimbledon

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Martina Hingis Used Me! Says Ex Husband to Le Journal du Dimanche

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Martina Hingis is happily back to tennis life. After leaving the circuit, she got back to living it. Just in doubles though, and some random single’s appearances in Fed Cup, just to show that despite the years and rust, she still is one of the greatest talents ever witnessed in women’s tennis.

As great as she is on court, Martina over the years has draw attention on her personal life far more than she ought to, with troubled relationships. Now, her former marriage is back on the news, with Martina’s ex husband Thibault Hutin taking on French Le Journal du Dimanche, to reveal that first of all the couple is legally still bonded and secondly that Swiss champion has used him over the years they have been together.

Hingis and Hutin got married in 2010, and while according to the media the Swiss is divorced, legally it appears the couple is yet to tear apart. In 2013 Thibault sued Martina for harassment. Their divorce is yet to be made official, and that hurts Hutin, as reported by JDC.

“My life is trash. I mistakenly left riding to preserve our marriage. I left my passion, there is nothing left. Without my family, I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent” confessed Thibault. When the couple met, Martina had just gotten back from a two-year suspension for cocaine abuse, thus she was quite fragile and not well seen by the media.

“Martina asked me to do interviews with her. Someone told me about her problems briefly, I didn’t know anything about it. Back than things were still tense. She wasn’t allowed to go to tournaments. She needed to rebuild an image.

The marriage with a good Frenchman was perfect at that time. She used me. Thinking about it now it seems obvious”. After more trouble, that including a surprising visit from Hutin to Hingis in New York that didn’t go well, the two separated in 2013.

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