Inside Team Europe: ‘Dream’ debut for Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas described the prospect of playing alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as a “lifetime dream” as Laver Cup preparations began in earnest on Tuesday.
On a busy day of action at Palexpo, the Greek star practiced with Federer soon after arriving in Geneva.
Team Europe teammates Alexander Zverev and Fabio Fognini also put each other through their paces as Europe focus on attempting to win the Laver Cup for the third time.
The blue team can again boast an impressive line-up, with Federer and Nadal joined by Tsitsipas, Zverev, Fognini and Dominic Thiem.
Tsitsipas is especially excited by the prospect of spending time with Federer and Nadal, winners of 39 Grand Slam titles between them.
“It’s quite special to have these two guys be part of our team,” said the Greek star.
We are very strong, they are very strong. I expect a close match but I hope we can pull through once again – Dominic Thiem
“I would describe it as a lifetime dream, sharing the court with them, experiencing things with them and getting to learn as much as I can.”
Tsitsipas has enjoyed an impressive rise up the rankings, breaking into the world’s top 10 in March and reaching a career-high at world No.5 last month.
Getting the Laver Cup call-up is the latest landmark in a stellar rise.
“I was actually looking forward to that for a long time. I’m really glad to be part of a team,” he said.
“It’s great, first time here in Geneva. I like Switzerland as a country, it’s a great place with a great landscape. The people are nice and they understand about tennis. It’s an honor to be part of the Laver Cup.”
Thiem relishing return
Austria’s Dominic Thiem was another to arrive in Geneva on Tuesday, keen to recapture the feeling of his Laver Cup debut in Prague two years ago.
“Of course, I’m so excited,” said the world No.5.
“I loved it two years ago and unfortunately skipped it last year. I was so happy when I confirmed for this year. We have to win, it would be very nice if we could make it three out of three.
“We are very strong, they are very strong. I expect a close match but I hope we can pull through once again.”
Federer ready to make some noise
Roger Federer is confident that the purpose-built arena will become a cauldron of noise when 17,000 tennis fans pack it to the rafters from Friday.
The Swiss star took a tour of the venue on Tuesday and was impressed by the scale of the arena.
“I know the Geneva fans because of matches I’ve played here in the past,” he said.
“I expect it to be really good and loud. They have a way to knock their feet onto the stands and create this sort of thunder effect, which I think is going to be very cool.
“Maybe some of the players are not used to it but it’s kind of a Swiss thing. It’s quite a structure, it’s just going to be vast.”