A look into a training session of Stefanos Tsitsipas
The grass season has well and truly begun. With the second week of tournaments already finished, I decided to write a short piece on how Stefanos Tsitsipas trains.
I spent some time in 's-Hertogenbosch (ATP 250) here in The Netherlands earlier this month and got the opportunity to see him train twice. It was really insightful and interesting as a tennis fan to see the dynamic of him and his coach (his father, Apostolos) train together on court. Their training sessions seemed different to any other tennis professional that I’ve seen train before.
They were on court 4, a practice court on the side of the grounds – which is a quieter area. The word ‘intense’ would be an understatement when describing their session together. Stefanos barely said a word during their time on court. I was really surprised that there was no chat between them. He was just following orders from his father.
Players usually have some conversation during their practice sessions, whether it be discussing their technique or just general conversation during water breaks. The contrast between other players was amplified as the same morning, Richard Gasquet was full of chat when training. Apostolos seemed to be in good form, giving directions to a hitting partner and making a few light jokes. The only issue was that the conversation was a one way street, with him getting no response.
At the 1h 20 mark, Stefanos began talking. I was sitting beside my Greek friend Rea at the time and asked her to translate some of what they were saying. She laughed and said that he was being ‘extremely mean’ to his father. No translation was needed. It was clear that he was frustrated and did not want to continue. The training ended soon after.
I thought it was an interesting dynamic between father and son on the tennis court. Stefanos works hard during practice, which I assume is down to the fact that he really, really wants to be the best. His father pushes him hard, giving him few breaks and is constantly feeding tennis balls to him. They take their tennis seriously, there is no denying that.
Stefanos has had a tough time on the grass so far. Losing in the second round to Nicolas Jarry in 's-Hertogenbosch and again to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the QF of Queens (ATP 500) has seen Tsitsipas have a slower start than expected this summer on grass. Despite a slow start, don’t count him out to be a serious contender to go deep at Wimbledon! He is one of the most promising talents that tennis has, at just 20 years old.