“Unreal”: Patrick Mouratoglou Remembers Watching Stefanos Tsitsipas Compete for the First Time

Published 06/12/2021, 6:54 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his semi final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


After winning a grueling five-set semifinal at the 2021 French Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas broke into tears as he remembered his journey coming from a small place outside Athens, Greece. Having lost two back-to-back Grand Slam semifinals previously, Tsitsipas had to dig deep to enter his first-ever Grand Slam final.

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With the victory, he became the first Greek tennis player to reach a major championship final. Few people know that Serena Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, discovered Tsitsipas’ potential while watching a video of him on YouTube in 2014 and subsequently invited the youngster to train at the Mouratoglou Academy.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his semi final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Tennis coach heaps praise on Stefanos Tsitsipas

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Recently, on the ‘Behind the Play’ podcast, Patrick Mouratoglou sat down with Ruben Herrera to talk about his tennis journey.

During the show, the Frenchman mentioned watching Tsitsipas play at age 16 and being mighty impressed by his ability to fight. It was then, Mouratoglou saw a star in the making in Tsitsipas.

“When I saw him, the first time, it was on YouTube. I saw him play in a match in Maimi. He was young, he was 16. The competitiveness of the guy and then I saw him practice. Oh my god, the difference between practice and match, Woah. Unreal,” said Mouratoglou.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his semi final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Mouratoglou, known for his ability to scout talent, revealed after watching Tsitsipas then, he noticed a fierce competitor inside the youngster and felt the Greek was born to compete.

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“A competitor, like he was born to compete, this guy. At that time, he was beating guys who looked so much better than him,” remarked Mouratoglou.

In fact, Mouratoglou is often spotted in Tsitsipas’ players’ box during tournaments and has played a pivotal role in the 22-year-old’s career.

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Up next, Tsitsipas faces the toughest challenge of his career, Novak Djokovic, in the French Open final. Djokovic defeated the thirteen-time champion, Rafael Nadal, in a nerve-wracking semifinal and became the first man to defeat the Spaniard twice at Roland Garros.

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Kshitij Tayal

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Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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