Selfless Sakkari Shares Thousands
After being granted 30,000 euros from the Hellenic Olympic Committee for Tokyo 2020 preparation, Maria Sakkari generously requested for it to be shared with other Greek tennis players.
Currently in Athens and preparing for matches with the Greek Fed Cup team at the Tatoi Club, Sakkari spoke in a press conference. “Thank you to the Federation and Mr. Zannias for giving us the opportunity to compete in Greece and at this incredible club, in these unique facilities, which we do not find elsewhere. I love Greece and this week is special for me. We’re having an enjoyable time, we are a team and now that this event is taking place in our country, our happiness is even greater. For me and the other three girls, it is something special,” said Sakkari.
She also invited the fans to come out and support the Greek team. “I want to invite the public to come and support us. Although we have a strong team, the matches can still be very difficult. We need the support of the public and it’s an opportunity now that we are playing at our home, for them to come and see us,” added Sakkari.
During that same press conference, Spyros Zannias, President of the Hellenic Tennis Federation and Chairman of the Hellenic Olympic Committee’s Olympic Preparation Commission, revealed Sakkari’s selfless donation. She did not keep the full amount (30,000 euros) that she was awarded for Olympic preparation, but she requested to share it with two fellow Greek tennis players. These players are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Valentini Grammatikopoulou, and along with Sakkari, are Greece’s biggest tennis hopes for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“The money that came out for Olympic preparation, on her own she said 10 there, 10 there, and 10 there. This shows ethos, different from other professional tennis players, and that is how her grandfather was, her mother, and now the girl (Sakkari), having a continuous route in tennis the last 70 years, decorating Greek tennis,” said Zannias.
This is not the only time in recent weeks that Sakkari has shown her class. Just last month, after losing in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in three sets to eventual champion Naomi Osaka, Sakkari went over to Osaka’s coaches to congratulate them individually. This unexpected and friendly gesture was noted by Osaka’s coach Sascha Bajin, who tweeted about his pleasant encounter with the Greek.
Greece begins group play on Thursday against Egypt at 11:00 AM local time. Although they were originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday, the team from Moldova withdrew from the event, which gave Greece a day off instead. Greece is being represented by Sakkari, Valentini Grammatikopoulou, Eleni Kordolaimi, and 17-year-old national team debutant Emmanouela Antonakis. Greece will hope to gain promotion for the second straight year and head to the Europe/Africa Zone Group I in 2019.