Tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas has penned a heartfelt note for his coach and ‘dear friend’ Bernard Frances. Frances, who used to run a tennis academy in the Spanish city of Marbella, passed away this year.
The grief of losing his ‘close friend’ seems to have affected his game, as Tsitsipas could only win a single title in a pandemic-hit season. The defending champion at the ATP Finals exited the season-ending tournament in the group stages this year.
Sharing a eulogy on his Instagram page, Tsitsipas said he was still struggling to come to terms with his coach’s demise.
Tsitsipas said he found it tough to rise every morning with the grim realization that his friend was no more. “I would like to start this saying that I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about you and the great memories that we have formed together over the years of knowing each other. It has been many weeks since your passing and it is very difficult to wrap my head around it. It makes it tougher to digest every single day. I always remember how much you cared about me, I always felt it when I was next to you,” he wrote.
The moving eulogy further added, “Nothing is more painful in this world than losing someone you love so dearly. I always thought that this life is so beautiful. But I didn’t know someday it would be this much cruel to me. I wish I could bring you back to life.”
Tsitsipas remembered his coach as someone who lived his life with passion and affection. “Living life with passion and affection. Always striving for the best of things regardless of the situation you were faced with. That’s what made you stand out,” the Greek star wrote.
Recalling his days with Frances, Tsitsipas said that for him, his coach would always remain a “great human being” who brought a lot of ‘joy’ into his life. He further wrote, “Those unforgettable moments we had in Madrid and Marbella will remain forever engraved in the back of my head. You brought a lot of joy and affinity, not just for me but the people around me. You’re the definition of a great human being Bernard. It can’t be taken away from you. You have earned it over the years.”
Tsitsipas said his goal was to hold on to the golden memories with his coach and implement his lessons to get better at his craft. “My goal is to wake up with a smile every day, and think of all the positives that you have brought into my life. It is truly a short but memorable voyage that we have had the opportunity to sail,” Tsitsipas wrote.
The Greek finished with a win/loss record of 27-14 this season while his ranking dropped to Number 6.