Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas made history on Friday as he became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final. Tsitsipas, who is ranked at No. 5 in the world, overcame Alexander Zverev in five sets 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 to make the French Open final.
After losing the third and fourth set, Tsitsipas faced three consecutive break points in the fifth set. But Tsitsipas saved those break points and claimed the lone break of the set in the fourth game. "All I can think of is my roots," said Tsitsipas, in an on-court interview.
"I come from a really small place outside of Athens. My dream was to play here and I would never have thought I would achieve it.... There were a lot of people cheering me on in my country and I'm very happy that Greece is part of the tennis community now.
Maria [Sakkari] and I have done a good job of elevating the sport and keeping Greek tennis alive." Tsitsipas acknowledged that the first game of the fifth set was the key. "It was nerve-wracking and so intense in the first game of the deciding set," said Tsitsipas.
"I came back and I stayed alive. I felt the crowd with me, they were cheering me and giving me their energy. I still felt that there was hope and a chance to fight back. The only thing I could do is fight. It was very emotional and this wins means a lot.
It's the most important one of my career so far."
Tsitsipas now aims to lift his maiden Grand Slam title
"I'm looking forward leaving my entire body on the court (during the final)," Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas was emotional after reaching the French Open final "Roland-Garros has been an event I was watching since I was little and it was the favourite tournament of my coach. I was emotional for putting myself in that position.
He's back in Greece now. I'm sure he's proud so far," Tsitsipas admitted. Tsitsipas is set to face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. I don't like to think there's something for him (Nadal) here.
I like to think there's not so many differences between clays, here and for instance Barcelona. Of course he's great here. But it's time for me to go for my chances and show I'm able to play him or Novak here," Tsitsipas insisted.