GREEK SENSATION FULL OF BELIEF
You only live once, but you get to serve twice”… Maria Sakkari is one of the leading tennis stars from Greece and her consistent performances over the past few seasons have seen her quickly become one of the big names on the WTA Tour. “Tennis is an addiction. It’s hard for me to even put into words how it feels when you hear that ‘game, set, match,'” said Maria Sakkari of winning in BreakPoint, the Netflix docuseries about the world of professional tennis. Sakkari was born on 25 July 1995 in Athens. Her mother, Aggeliki Kanellopoulou, is also a professional tennis player as well as her grandfather, Dimitris Kanellopoulos. From a very young age, she was driven to tennis.
At the age of 11, she entered her first amateur tournament held in Lamia, Greece where she reached the finals. By that time, Sakkari had made her decision. Tennis was now her life.
Her mother’s advice was “The most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. Because if you’re happy on court, you’ll perform better.” Sakkari started her hard training with her grandfather. He had reached in the 40th place of the best tennis players in the world in his early years. As her parents wanted their daughter to stay in Greece, a training team comes to Greece to train Sakkari for national and international tournaments. In 2010, at the age of 15, she is already participating in tournaments at Lesvos, Thessaloniki and Athens and abroad in Africa. One year later she enters 11 tournaments and in 2012 the number is launching to 21. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy my thirst for distinction in international tournaments,” Sakkari said. Maria Sakkari is now playing tennis only in international tournaments but clearly states that the national tournaments are sometimes even better. In 2022, Sakkari was a finalist at four tournaments on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, including at Indian Wells.
She's won over $8 million in prize money over her career and is looking to go on a deep run at this year's Australian Open.
Could 2023 be the year she wins big? Sakkari is optimistic. “I already feel like I’ve changed a few things during preseason,” she says. “I wanna really challenge myself to see, in situations like last year, how I’m going to handle them. I believe I now have the experience.”