World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas made history on Friday as he reached his maiden Grand Slam final and became the first Greek to have made a Major final. Tsitsipas, seeded at No. 5, edged out German tennis star Alexander Zverev in five sets 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 to reach the French Open final.
“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 survived a five-setter
After losing the first set, Zverev started the second set with a 2-0 lead. But the German failed to hold on to his serve as Tsitsipas claimed two breaks to overturn the deficit and take a two-set lead.
Zverev then claimed one break of serve in each of the following two sets to force a decider. In the first game of the fifth set, Zverev blew three consecutive break points and after that moment everything changed. Tsitsipas broke Zverev in the fourth game and then held on to his serve the rest of the way to claim a five-set win.
“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.”