In a recent interview, Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas made a startling revelation about his personal life. He even broke down in tears as he confessed that he nearly lost his life while swimming at a beach in 2016.
Tsitsipas was thrust into the limelight in the wake of his fourth-round win over Roger Federer at the Australian Open this year. He made the revelation in a video on his YouTube channel this week.
The 20-year old is currently ranked 12th in the world and is the reigning ATP Finals Next Gen champion. Tsitsipas reminisced the day when he got into trouble while swimming in October 2016.
“It was a stormy day, very wild conditions to swim and we jumped in without having an understanding of what would happen later on,” he said.
“We weren’t actually supposed to go swimming for very long, we were just supposed to refresh ourselves.
“I jumped in the sea and remember hitting my leg on a rock. I looked back and I was 30 or 40 metres away from the beach without even understanding what was going on.
“The waves were getting bigger and bigger, it was stormy and there was a lot of wind. There was no lifeguard there and I remember feeling a sense of panic.”
The Greek player admitted that he felt helpless and it was the worst moment of his life. By then, he began to get emotional as he described being unable to see a friend who was with him.
“We were trying to swim back to the beach but it was completely impossible to make it. The more I was trying, the less chance I had to make it.”
“I remember surrendering. I remember the flashback when time froze. Nothing moved. I couldn’t feel anything. There was a sudden flashback of my entire life.
“I remember drowning. I remember that feeling of dying. For a second I thought I was dead already.”
Fortunately, Tsitsipas’ dad, Apostolos, rushed to help his son make it back to the beach.
“He was swimming towards me, I could see the fear in his eyes – he could see the fear in my eyes,” Tsitsipas said.
“It gave me hope. If we were supposed to die and lose our lives that day, then we would do it together. He was a hero. He didn’t mind so much about himself.”
The father-son duo luckily made it to a nearby coral reef. From there, they were both able to walk back to shore.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” said Tsitsipas. My dad kept searching for my other friend and he actually saved him as well. He was the saviour, he saved all of us.
Tsitsipas went on to say how the moment changed his outlook on life in general.
“That was a day that I saw life in a different perspective,” he said “I remember saying to myself, ‘you cannot feel fear. This is the worst it can ever get.’ I felt fearless, like I could do anything after that.”
The Greek sensation entered the 2019 season ranked 15th in the world. Then, Stefanos Tsitsipas had a stunning Australian Open run. He beat Matteo Berrettini, Viktor Troicki and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Then, in the fourth round, it was time for his magnum opus, he scored a 6-7(11) 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(5) win over two-time defending champion Federer.
Another four-set victory came against Spain’s Robert Bautista Agut in the quarterfinal. Sadly, the dream run ended in the semifinal as he was no match for Rafael Nadal, who won their semi-final match 6-2 6-4 6-0.