Maria Sakkari makes history for Greece by joining Stefanos Tsitsipas in the top 10

Rohit
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari are the two most successful players from Greece ever
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari are the two most successful players from Greece ever

Stefanos Tsitsipas has established himself as one of the premier tennis players in the world; he has been a steady presence in the top ten for more than two years now. Now, in another significant milestone for Greece, his compatriot Maria Sakkari has also made her debut in the top 10 of the rankings.

By reaching the finals at last week's WTA 500 event in Ostrava, Sakkari gained enough points to make her debut in the WTA top 10, at No. 10. With Tsitsipas already in the top 10, this is a historic moment for Greece; for the first time ever, the country has two players in the top 10 simultaneously.

The exploits of Tsitsipas and Sakkari also mean that Greece is one of just two nations (along with Spain) currently to have top 10 players in both the men's and the women's rankings.

Sakkari has been one of the most consistent players this season.
Sakkari has been one of the most consistent players this season.

The achievement is especially remarkable as Greece isn't known as a tennis powerhouse. Maria Sakkari, in fact, became only the second player (after Stefanos Tsitsipas himself) and the first woman from the country to be ranked in the top 10.

Prior to this duo cracking the top 10, Eleni Daniilidou was the highest ranked player from Greece. Daniilidou peaked at No. 14 in May 2003.

It is pertinent to note that Stefanos Tsitsipas made his debut in the top 10 of the ATP rankings back in March 2019. The 23-year-old is currently ranked at No. 3, the highest of his career so far.

Maria Sakkari, on her part, has had a fantastic season so far. She made her maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros and even held match points against Barbora Krejcikova, but she couldn't cross the final hurdle. The 26-year-old then made her second Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, while also making three other semifinal appearances and a final at other events.

Sakkari's journey to the top 10 has never been considered a sure thing though; many people had been doubting that she had the capability to rise that far. At the age of 26 years, she is one of the oldest players to make their debut in the top 10.

But neither she nor her team paid any attention to the naysayers; instead, they fully believed in their goals and kept working towards them.

"People don't realize how big it is for someone who at the age of 26 - not the age of 20 - cracks into the top 10," Sakkari said earlier this week. "When no one believed I could do it, myself and the people around me really believed in me."

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari have always wanted to put Greece on the map with their tennis

The Greek duo have been making a big impact on the world of tennis over the last couple of years. Their respective achievements have also played a part in making tennis more popular in Greece.

Stefanos Tsitsipas made his maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas made his maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open.

Both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari have frequently mentioned how important their success is to Greece. The two close friends have also repeatedly lavished praise on each other, giving the impression they are almost like family.

When quizzed about their relationship during the 2021 Miami Open, Sakkari explained that she's quite close to the younger Greek. The 26-year-old called Tsitsipas a talented athlete and remarked how their wins are making their country proud of them.

"Yeah, we are very close," Sakkari had said during the Miami Open. "We are looking forward playing I think the Olympics together. I think he's proud of me. I'm very proud of him. I look after him, because he's a great -- he's a joke of an athlete and a joke of a player. We have a great relationship and our families are very close. I think we are making Greece proud."

Following their brilliant performances at this year's Roland Garros, Stefanos Tsitsipas stated that he was very pleased with how the two of them were keeping the tennis renaissance in Greece alive.

"I'm very happy that me and Maria [Sakkari] have been doing a great job so far, elevating the sport and keeping the hopes of Greek tennis alive," Tsitsipas had said.

With the way their careers are going, Tsitsipas and Sakkari are likely going to continue to bring more laurels to their country with their achievements.