Mom Crashes Tsitsipas Press Conference In Dubai
Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas probably expected to speak about his good form in his press conference following a 6-2, 6-3 win against Daniel Evans on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
But it’s safe to say he didn’t expect his mother, Julia Salnikova, to crash the press conference.
“I’m following you to the press conference to make sure I'm aware how you feel, what are your statements,” Salnikova said, eliciting a smile from her son. “I'm just wondering, I'm not sure you really know so much about...
“Did she read the statements I said a few days ago? That's why she's here,” Tsitsipas said, cracking a laugh.
After defeating Alexander Bublik in the second round, a reporter asked Tsitsipas how important family support is for his career.
“I’m trying to sometimes not pay too much attention of what they say. It's quite difficult, honestly,” Tsitsipas said. “But I love them. I love them. I love them. I honestly don't know if I would have achieved the things I have achieved today if it wasn't for them. They want the best for me.”
Salnikova caught wind of his son’s words, and she put on her reporter hat on Friday to follow up with him about it.
“I don't spend so much time with you. This is my chance. What I want to ask you is, I'm not sure you are really so much aware of the number of these great tennis players followed by the parents,” Salnikova said.
“Actually you're a journalist, right?” Tsitsipas asked. “True, verified.”
“The question is, are you really aware of the number of the great tennis players that were helped and followed by the parents on the [ATP] Tour?”
Tsitsipas’ mother pushed him to name as many players as he could who have been coached by their parents.
“I want to know male players with Grand Slam titles, Top 5,” Tsitsipas said.
“Maybe you can be the first one,” his mom replied.
It’s a press conference Tsitsipas, his mother and the media in the room will remember.
But now, Tsitsipas will refocus on the task at hand, as he plays World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday for the Dubai title.
“He's in really good form and shape. He's been playing great tennis. Everybody has seen what he did at Australian Open. For sure I'm going to have to bring the best out of my game and reduce my mistakes and in general reduce everything, stay aggressive like today,” Tsitsipas said. “He's just a solid player. Everything is good: forehand, backhand, serve. Very consistent, very solid. Doesn't miss a lot. It's going to take something extra for me to beat him tomorrow. I'm going to try and seek for that.”