Mentor to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marcos Baghdatis, reveals toughest part of life in emotional interview
Marcos Baghdatis, former world No. 8 and close friend to Stefanos Tsitsipas, opened up about his own path to becoming a tennis professional and the challenges he faced as a junior living away from home
Marcos Baghdatis has spoken to ‘Behind the Racquet‘, a inside look at the lives of tennis players, about how he became a succesful tennis professional and the sacrifices he had to make along the way.
In the interview Marcos Baghdatis reveals that the toughest part for him was when he had to leave home and move to Paris to live with a host family at the age of 14. He wanted so much to be a professional tennis player and realised that sacrifices had to be made but sometimes he would not see his family for 10 months at a time. This period of his life helped him understand what it really takes to become a professional athlete.
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“I left my house when I was 14 and went to an academy in Paris, without my parents, all alone. I was staying with a family that was hosting me. This was the most difficult thing that I ever did. I had patches where I didn’t see my parents for about 10 months. Not only did I leave my parents but also my childhood friends and people that I grew up with. The toughest thing was not being around the ones I loved. I wanted to be a professional tennis player more than anything and was willing to sacrifice it all for my dream. Andre Agassi was my idol and after watching him win a Grand Slam it became my dream to be on tour and win a slam. Leaving home and being alone in Paris helped me start to understand what it really takes to be a champion and the sacrifices that are needed to become a professional athlete. It definitely wasn’t easy for my coaches. They knew they had to work on more of my mental side. They pushed to keep me happy and keep me going in tough times, which my host family helped a lot with as well. That’s why I always say I was lucky to have these people around me in the tough times when you want to give up and don’t want to do it anymore. It’s hard as a young kid when you don’t understand things. These people were there to explain to me life itself and that I needed to keep pushing and driving towards my dream. Believing in myself was also very important. I needed self-discipline to work everyday and focus only on my dream without getting sidetracked. You have to find out what you really love. If it’s tennis, if it’s another sport or even school, it’s very important to love what you do to help continue your journey. I think people should always push to become a better person than who they were yesterday. If you live by this there is no way you won’t succeed. Nothing in life comes in a day, you have to build it over time. You have to live in the present and do everything slowly, step by step and just believe. I think the belief of “I can” is stronger and more important than any IQ.” @baghdatis_official
Baghdatis was talking to ‘Behind the Racquet’ which was set up by American tennis pro Noah Rubin to highlight the reality tennis professionals face when pursuing their career. Rubin has at times been very outspoken of some aspects of the professional game which he thinks are unfair, in particular the distribution of money that he feels is unfairly focussed on the top players with the lower ranked players not receiving enough of a share.
Marcos Baghdatis reached a career high ranking of No.8 in the world and also played in the final of the 2006 Australian Open where he lost to Roger Federer in 4 sets after winning the first set. Across his career he won nearly $9m in prize money and has recently retired form the game.
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