By Bill Roumeliotis
Modern Greek tennis stars by the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari have inspired a wave of new young guns looking to make their mark on the tennis world.
Dimitra Pavlou is one of them.
At only 17-years-old, Dimitra has impressed on the junior stage and is ready to turn pro.
The Greek Herald speaks exclusively with Dimitra to talk about her professional rise.
TGH: Why did you choose to play tennis?
Dimitra Pavlou: I started playing tennis when I was 6 years old, as my grandfather, Dimitris Kanellopoulos, was a tennis coach and playing the sport is, in a way, a family tradition.
TGH: Are you coming to Australia for the first time and which tournaments will you be attending?
Dimitra Pavlou: Coming to Australia was one of my biggest dreams and I feel immense joy that I’m able to make it happen. I will be coming to Melbourne on the 10th of January and will first take part in the Category 1 Junior Tournament to be held in Traralgon from the 12th to 19th of January. I’ll then compete in the Australian Open Junior Championships in Melbourne on the 19th of January.
TGH: Can you tell me some of your biggest moments from matches that you remember even today?
Dimitra Pavlou: I remember all the matches I played, but the most important are the matches with the National Team in the Pan-European Girls Under-16 Championship that, although I was 15 years old, reached the top 8. Also the first places I won in the Pan-Hellenic Junior and Women’s Championships, my participation at the age of 16 in the Women’s National Team and, of course, my last matches in professional tournaments through which I got a ranking in the WTA world women’s ranking.
TGH: Do you continue your studies? How do you do it?
Dimitra Pavlou: It is a bit difficult in Greece with the school as I am a student of the 3rd Lyceum, but I’m very lucky because the teachers and the Principal of my school support me and help me whenever I need it.
TGH: Do you have a goal in what you want to achieve?
Dimitra Pavlou: My first goal is to be able to become a professional tennis player, and my dream is to be able to reach the top 100 of the world rankings.
TGH: How do you spend your free time?
Dimitra Pavlou: I spend my free time with my family and my friends. We like to go for walks in the Historic Center of Athens and watch theatrical performances.
TGH: Do you enjoy traveling?
Dimitra Pavlou: I really like traveling and meeting people but at the moment my travels are limited to those of sporting obligations.
TGH: Where do you imagine yourself in ten years, both professionally and in your personal life?
Dimitra Pavlou: In 10 years from now I imagine myself as a successful athlete and I would like in my personal life to have people around me who I love and they love me.
TGH: What message would you like to send to the Greeks of Australia?
Dimitra Pavlou: I would like to say a big thank you to all the Greeks of Australia, firstly because the Greek heart beats louder in the Greeks of Australia and every time Greek athletes come to Australia, with their support and enthusiasm, they make and feel like we have not left the country. I hope when I come to meet as many Greeks as I can and make them proud.