Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari have been officially chosen by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to compete for Greece in the Tokyo Olympic Games, starting in July.
The decision means that the two Greek champions, after a tremendous last week at Roland Garros, could bring medals for Greece at the top sporting event in the world.
The two players will not only play in their respective singles categories, but they will also pair together for the mixed doubles tournament.
“I am very happy that Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas will wear the Greek jersey and will represent our country at the Tokyo Olympics,” said the president of Hellenic Olympic Committee and and member of the International Olympic Committee, Spyros Kapralos.
“Their participation is a great achievement for Greece, as they are two leading athletes who promote our country worldwide in the best way, both inside and outside the courts. Their presence in Tokyo fills us with optimism that they will bring medals to Greece, both in the individual and in the mixed doubles,” he added.
Tsitsipas, Sakkari make tennis popular in Greece
Tennis has never enjoyed much popularity in Greece, which is why Tsitsipas has spoken numerous times of his goal to make tennis popular in Greece. One way to do that, beyond being a successful all-around tennis player, is to win a medal for his country at the Olympics.
Earlier on Thursday, one of Tsitsipas’ main rivals for medals, Rafael Nadal, announced he is pulling out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. In a statement posted on his official Twitter page, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said: “It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.”
Tsitsipas was a finalist at the Roland Garros Grand Slam tournament on Sunday. Although the Greek champion built a big lead and appeared on his way to an upset victory, Novak Djokovic mounted an improbable comeback to win his 19th major title bu a score of 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
He was the youngest men’s finalist at Roland Garros since Rafael Nadal won the title in 2008, and was trying to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam title.
“Despite my loss today, I have faith in my game,” Tsitsipas said. “I very much believe I can get to that point very soon. I was close today.”
Maria Sakkari just failed to reach the final of the French Open for the first time in her career after losing to Czech player Barbora Krejcikova by 2-1 sets last Thursday.
After a titanic battle that lasted more than three hours, Sakkari came back from a set to love down to level the game, but succumbed to her opponent in the final set.
Sakkari is enjoying a breakout year on the tour this year, racking up win after win. The Greek WTA number one is always proud to represent her country, and asked recently whether she would play doubles at the event, she confirmed it.
This will not be the first instance Tsitsipas and Sakkari have played doubles together as they already played at the Hopman Cup and they did fairly well in that outing.