Interview with tennis champion, Mr Stefanos Tsitsipas:
“Attica could become the centre of the sports world.”
1. “Attica-Greece in a Snapshot” is the Attica Region’s slogan. What are your favourite “snapshots” in Attica?
Geopolitically, Attica is perhaps one of the most interesting locations on the planet, a crossroads of civilisations! It has countless beaches, it is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and all around it lay picturesque islands, lush green valleys, and forested areas, as well as unique sites of culture and living history, such as the Acropolis! My favourite snapshots or “images” of Attica are Vouliagmeni, Glyfada, Kifisia, Parnitha, Sounion, the Plaka district, Lycabettus, and, naturally, the Acropolis.
2. Sports and sporting ideals from antiquity to the present are interwoven with Attica. To what degree do you believe that Attica’s modern sports infrastructure keeps up with international standards, and what training spaces would you recommend international athletes visit?
Attica could become the centre of the sports world. Current sports history could be rewritten in as glorious a way as in antiquity. The modern Olympic Games left behind sports infrastructure that is capable of offering such moments. The Panathenaic stadium, the Olympic facilities, and the training spaces created through private initiatives are, and could become even greater, poles of attraction for visitors.
3. Attica holds important sports events throughout the year (the Davis Cup, EFOA events, the Authentic Marathon, etc.). Do you believe that these events attract athletes and visitors, and how could they be further strengthened?
Strengthening the partnership between the state and the private sector with investments and sponsorships, and sound promotion of the ideals of ancient Greek culture and sports, would be important actions towards the further flourishing of sports tourism in Attica.
4. Does Attica, in your opinion, concentrate a decent number of destinations for nature lovers and through which activities would you recommend they get to know its landscape?
There are countless sea activities, sailing, swimming, all the water sports, however, there are also mountain sports, such as mountaineering, which are ideal ways for visitors to be initiated into the beauties of Attica. I would recommend food tasting activities in the vegetable gardens and vineyards of Attica, where visitors can visit nature while enjoying the tastes it has to offer at the same time. Walking on trails of archaeological interest is one way for visitors to get to know the landscape and history of the region.
5. Besides the beauty of nature, a destination is also connected to tastes in the visitors’ minds. What routes on the gastronomical map of Attica would you recommend to a fellow athlete, so that they could get to know the culinary tradition of the land?
I would tell them to get to know the tastes through the nature of Attica, by taking tours of the vineyards, the olive groves, and the unique vegetable gardens of Attica, where the products are produced. They will be able to discover the smells and pure tastes, straight from the field. At the same time, I would also recommend culinary stops along the endless coastline of Attica, at the restaurants and tavernas by the beach, where the iodine flavour of the sea is always peeking through the tastes, for anyone who loves fresh fish and seafood.
6. When an athlete is preparing for a competition, they are under a lot of psychological pressure. In your opinion, which places in Attica could act as stress relievers?
I would personally prefer the sea and its breeze! Its energy is so intense and the embrace of the sea truly offers rest and relaxation. Attica has the advantage of being surrounded by the sea, offering countless options. I love all the locations of Attica that look out onto the sea, from Piraeus, Faliro, and Glyfada to Sounion; and there’s Vouliagmeni, which stands out for me.
7. As a young man who wants to take a break from your intense training programme, which areas and activities in Attica would you choose for recreation?
A walk up to the Acropolis and then to central Athens is a classic option, the Athenian Riviera with its cosmopolitan air is also a favourite, and cultural spaces, such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation are exceptional options. For summertime escapes, I would recommend the beaches in Voula and Vouliagmeni, at one of the venues on the seafront for food or drinks to the sound of music, and gorgeous Kifisia with its market and restaurants for winter strolls.
8. Attica is surrounded by the sea, with the islands of Attica, the Attica Riviera, and the beaches on its eastern and western coasts. What options would you recommend to young visitors who want to enjoy the sea breeze and swimming in crystal clear water?
Vouliagmeni, my birthplace, is unique. Its natural beauty, its water sports, its unique lake, Kavouri, and the sunset; it is truly the most beautiful thing I can think of.