Sakkari prepared to channel Spartan spirit to charge through Australian Open

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Maria Sakkari is one of Greece’s, and the world’s, most exciting upcoming tennis players. Beating tennis greats like Serena Williams and Elina Svitolina, Sakkari gives endless credit to her mother and father’s constant motivation.

“In Sparta, individuals develop up with that mentality, they know tips on how to survive, they know tips on how to struggle for every little thing. It’s in my blood, I’m gonna take it with me all over the place I am going,” Sakkari said to Telegraph Sport.

Sakkari said channeling her Spartan heritage, the fighting mindset she learned from her father, has helped her reach a higher level.

“I labored rather a lot on my mentality with Tom and with a specialist, and then I beat all these gamers again to again. I noticed that I additionally belong there due to my outcomes and I simply gained confidence. I have never misplaced it but.“

The 25-year-old has gone one better than her mother, Angeliki Kanellopoulou, who reached a high of world 43 in the 1980s. Though, the Greek tennis player says her and her mother are on different levels.

“My mum says that we’re completely completely different gamers,” she insists.

Though her mother is a source of advice on tactics and mentality now, Sakkari’s career in tennis grew organically, away from any family pressure. Growing up in Athens, she was not a particularly standout young talent on the ITF junior scene, but a move to Spain aged 18 shifted her focus entirely to tennis and saw her break into the WTA’s top 100 two years later.

Since then she has become known for her athletic game and speed on the court – and on the track where she has run a 12.50secs 100m personal best.

Along with compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas, she is bringing tennis to the forefront of Greece’s sporting culture too. Last year she was named the national sportswoman of the year and getting mainstream attention – including gracing magazine covers: “Now individuals acknowledge me all over the place I am going, it isn’t the identical as earlier than when tennis was not on tv.”

Sakkari faces Angelique Kerber today in the quarter finals of the Grampians Trophy.

Australian Open draw

The Australian Open draw and player seeds was released to the public yesterday, with Maria Sakkari placing in seed 20. See below for the best round one matchups:

Men’s Singles

Novak Djokovic v Jeremy Chardy

Grigor Dimitrov v Marin Cilic

Kei Nishikori v Pablo Carreno Busta

Denis Shapovalov v Jannik Sinner

Stefanos Tstitsipas v Gilles Simon

Kevin Anderson v Matteo Berrettini

Tennys Sandgren v Alex de Minaur

Women’s Singles

Yulia Putinseva v Sloane Stephens

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams v Laura Siegemund

Svetlana Kuznetsova v Barbora Strycova

Elise Mertens v Leylah Fernandez

Jelena Ostapenk v Karolina Muchova

Venus Williams v Kirsten Flipkens

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