By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Stefanos Tsitsipas displayed his soft personal side outside the court in a video blog posted on his YouTube channel during his five-day stay with the Greek Davis Cup team last week.
The 11-minute video showed the world No. 6 Greek tennis hero exploring the streets of Manila at night with the team’s fitness trainer Christos Fiotakis.
The two visitors were seen buying groceries for a mother and two children, and treating a female teenager to a meal at a popular local fast food store.
In an earlier interview, Tsitsipas admitted his experience that night was cultivating.
“People are so humble… It’s really inspiring to see people behave this way,” said the 21-year-old, who also shared his experience with a series of street photographs.
Tsitsipas also hosted a live video feed on his Instagram account answering questions from fans a few hours after organizers cancelled the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Monday.
One fan asked to share his experience in Manila and he answered, “[Manila] was insane. It was really, really good.”
“I’ve seen similar situations in life: poor people, poverty… but what I saw this time was quite shocking and I think it makes me appreciate life more,” he said.
“Survival is No. 1 there, but in such a way that it seems normal… They’re happy people, they love life. You can see it in their faces. In a way, I felt like I wanna give [back] to them.”
“It’s a different experience.”
Tsitsipas was part of the Greece Davis Cup team that saw action in the World Group II playoff tie against the Philippines last Friday and Saturday at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt.
He said his overall experience in Manila — from playing for Greece to getting to know the city during his brief stay — is memorable.
“I am going to think about it for quite a while. I really like it here, I won’t lie. I’ve met some really positive people that brought me joy and just very charming people that showed their appreciation for me,” he said.
The Greeks, also composed of Tsitsipas’ younger brother Petros, Markos Kalovelonis and Michail Pervolarakis and team captain Dimitris Chatzinikolaou, edged the PH squad of AJ Lim, Jeson Patrombon, Francis Casey Alcantara, Ruben Gonzales and Jed Olivarez 4-1 to get promoted to Group II in September.
The Filipinos, for their part, were relegated to the Regional Group III, but admitted being richer in experience for having played against one of the world’s best.