Thu. 29 Dec 2022 - Sun 8 Jan 2023

Sakkari & Tsitsipas Form Dream Team At United Cup

Updated11/9/2022 10:23:00 PM

Maria Sakkari can’t wait for the inaugural United Cup to kick off the 2023 season late next month, when she will join forces with Stefanos Tsitsipas. Despite its population of just more than 6 million, Greece will have the rare honour of fielding Top 5 players on both the women’s and men’s side.

“Mainly what I'm most excited about is Greece is a very small country, as I have mentioned many times. We will probably be the No. 1 seed if our rankings stay the same,” said Sakkari, who boasts a WTA Ranking of 5. “I think it's pretty special for our country like this to have.

“If we are the No. 1 or even 2 seed in the United Cup, I think that's enormous. Just a country like Greece in front of all the big countries like the U.S. and England, France, Germany. Just to have a country the leader of that Cup. It's big.”

That sentiment is likely to rally Australia’s strong Greek community, especially if the team advances to the semi-final stage in Sydney.

"There's a big, strong Greek community in Sydney,” Tsitsipas said. “I always have a lot of fun when they come around and support me in my matches. I think this is going to be a very important aspect of us playing there. We're going to get great Greek support and a very ambient court whenever we're out there playing."

Sakkari is also excited for her lesser known countrywomen like No. 148 Despina Papamichail, No. 200 Valentini Grammatikopoulou and No. 307 Sapfo Sakellaridi to experience the atmosphere of a big event like the United Cup, just as Greek men have done previously when teaming with Tsitsipas at the former ATP Cup.

“I think it's a great opportunity for all four players, or however many we enter the team,” Sakkari said. “It's a great opportunity for the second players and third that they're going to witness something that is on the big stage and see all the high-level players playing with us.”

The inaugural United Cup will be contested in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, with four countries advancing to the knockout stage in Sydney. The tournament runs 29 December-8 January.