Stefanos Tsitsipas has opened up on his bond with Alisha Lehmann after the pair traded gifts. The world No 5 previously sent her a tennis racket and received an Aston Villa shirt in return. And Tsitsipas remarked that the pair had formed a “really nice friendship”.
Tsitsipas struck up an unlikely friendship with Lehmann earlier this year after the Villa star first caught the attention of his younger brother Petros, who asked to play mixed doubles together. It spurred the nine-time title winner to gift the footballer a tennis racket and she responded by sending Tsitsipas a shirt with her name and number on it.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist has now lifted the lid on their bond as he revealed he often supported Lehmann while the pair often discussed their sporting careers. “I’m a big supporter of Aston Villa, have always been a supporter of the team. Alisha is a gifted athlete, plays very good football,” the Greek star said ahead of the Fench Open.
“I have always had that idea in my head to make friends from each different sports in different backgrounds. One of them is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a basketball player, and we stay in touch quite frequently.”
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And that’s exactly what Tsitsipas has done with Lehmann, admitting that he was able to gain some motivation from their conversations about life as an athlete. He continued: “I wanted to do the same from the other gender, and it has been actually very inspiring. It’s so beautiful to kind of relate on things and talk openly on stuff I’m not used to, talk with regular people.
“It has evolved into a very nice friendship. I just wish her the best. I’m supporting her quite often. I think it’s important to have that sort of attitude towards others, wishing them big success, wishing them health, and also be able to talk openly about just different stuff and talk about sports, talk about the hustle and the difficulties and the adversity that we have to overcome to thrive in what we do.”
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Tsitsipas also confessed that he wouldn’t make friends with fellow athletes earlier in his career but was now benefitting from his friendship with the likes of Lehmann and Antetokounmpo. “It’s something that I have been very carefully kind of have started building,” he explained.
“When I was younger, I had a phase where I’m, like, I’m just going to focus on my tennis, I won’t focus on any friends right now, this is not an important part of my life to be making friends. Right now I’m at a phase of my life where having friends and having different type of communications and connections with people means so much to me because I’m learning so much through that, which ultimately just makes me a better person which I’m aiming for every single day.”
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