Stefanos Tsitsipas had some explaining to do after celebrating Team Europe’s 2019 Laver Cup win with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The tournament returns this weekend in Boston for the first time in two years, after the 2020 edition was postponed due to COVID-19, and the Greek star will be pivotal to his side’s ambitions of a fourth straight win over Team World.
Federer and Nadal however, will be both be absent this year with injury while Novak Djokovic is taking time out after an intense season which saw him narrowly fail to land a calendar Grand Slam.
That is perhaps good news for Tsitipas, 23, who had to answer to his mother two years ago after Team Europe had again won the exhibition event in Geneva.
A video surfaced on Instagram of all the players, led by the two 20-time Grand Slam winning legends, chanting Tsitsipas’ name at the Laver Cup afterparty as they encouraged him to down a beverage.
His antics didn’t impress his mum however, who in a blog posted on the 21-year-old’s YouTube channel, was quoted as saying: “Is it true what I hear it and what I’m worrying now, have you tried one drop of alcohol?”
The normally tee-total Tsitsipas replied: “It was half a glass of vodka and coke.”
That explanation however, didn’t satisfy his mum, who said: “It was disgusting, it was so bad, I didn’t like it at all,” and even when her son pleaded that he had a video proving he was forced to do it, she didn’t relent: “Are you so innocent? Say tomato juice,” she added.
Tsitsipas however, did at least find backing from one parent, with his dad saying: “It’s gin. You will like gin. Gin-tonic might be good for you.”
Regardless, he’s likely to be careful this time around if Team Europe, under captain Bjorn Borg, prevail again against John McEnroe’s Team Europe – with the three day indoor tournament running from today until Sunday.
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Tsitsipas will be pivotal to his side’s chances alongside Russian US Open winner Daniil Medvedev, German star Alexander Zverev, Norwegian ace Casper Ruud, Matteo Berrettini of Italy and another Russian in Andrey Rublev.
Team World consists of Americans John Isner and Reilly Opelka, Australian Nick Kyrgios, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, Canadian Denis Shapovalov and youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The tournament has been dubbed the ‘Ryder Cup of tennis’, and sees 12 matches played over three days – nine singles and three doubles.
The inaugural clash took place in 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic, with the Europeans prevailing 15-9, and they backed that up the following year in Chicago with a 13-8 victory.