FIFA World Cup: Maria Sakkari vows to support Mexico after feeling love in Guadalajara
Maria Sakkari appears to have fallen even deeper in love with Mexico after her latest visit to the country and has vowed to support them in the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Sakkari clinched her place at the WTA Tour finals with a quarter-final win in Guadalajara and in thanking fans made the declaration that she would be backing Mexico at the World Cup.
Her own Greece failed to qualify for the 32-team World Cup in Qatar and Sakkari feels it is only fitting that she support Mexico in November and December.
“There is something special about this tournament, about the people, about how I feel about this place,” Sakkari told reporters.
“I told my friends here, my Mexican friends, that I’ll be supporting Mexico in the World Cup because Greece did not qualify. I’ll support my second favorite country.”
The Guadalajara crowd have also adopted Sakkari, ever since she first visited the city for the Tour finals in 2021 and made a big impact on the crowd with her passionate play.
She says that Mexico is like a second home for her as it reminds her a little bit of Greece.
“I see all the restaurants being full every day,” Sakkari said. “That reminds me a lot of Greece. No matter if it’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, they like to go out. They like their music.
“You’re outgoing. You like good food. You like the good life as we do, in a good way, of course. I mean, everything. You’re very passionate like we are.”
Sakkari makes no secret of her love for Guadalajara and she has even now been gifted a personalised Mexican football jersey.
“Last year I had some very special moments here,” Sakkari said after her first-round win over Marta Kostyuk.
“Obviously, didn’t make it until the end. But even the match I lost, I think it was very, very special.
“The atmosphere was, from the first match I played until the last, incredible. When I came back here, I just felt like I want to feel that again. I think that today everyone showed me that it’s the same as it was last year.”
The 27-year-old will appear at the WTA Tour finals for the second time after her run to the last four in Guadalajara and would love to add a tournament win in the city.
She will meet Marie Bouzkova in the last four and the Czech also has some affection for the Mexican city.
“I think it’s going to be amazing, that she’s going to have the support, amazing crowd behind her as well,” Bouzkova said when asked about the split in crowd support for Saturday.
“It just adds even more to the nice atmosphere. That’s why we love it here so much, playing in the night sessions.
“Yeah, just hope I’m going to get that support as well. I think it’s just going to have so much energy, that match tomorrow. Super excited about it.”
Mexico are drawn alongside Poland, Argentina and Suadi Arabia in Group C of the World Cup and might fancy their chances of reaching the knockout stage.
The 7 players to win ATP titles after saving a match point in 2023: Novak Djokovic, Hubert Hurkacz feature twice
Here is a look at the nine times players saved a match point en route to winning ATP titles in 2023.
Rafael Nadal backed to ‘find the rhythm’ as Roger Federer comeback comparison is made
A former ATP star is optimistic about Rafael Nadal’s comeback and used Roger Federer to illustrate his point.
Novak Djokovic has one big weakness – and here is why his opponents struggle to expose it on court
We look at why Djokovic has always struggled with his overheads at the net and what opponents could do to take advantage of that flaw.
Rising American star picks Novak Djokovic as his dream opponent ‘because he’s the GOAT’
An ATP up-and-comer would love to face Novak Djokovic as he thinks the Serbian is the GOAT.
Novak Djokovic hailed for helping young star in ‘wonderful act of kindness’ by former top pro
Novak Djokovic has been praised for his generosity by a top coach and former ATP star.
‘I still have faith in seeing Rafael Nadal win another Roland Garros title’, says former ATP star
Rafael Nadal has been backed to triumph at the French Open one last time by a former competitor.
The 13 youngest ATP Tour title winners in 2023: Carlos Alcaraz 2nd, Holger Rune 3rd
The “new Big Three” of Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune are on the youngest champions in 2023 list.
Cameron Norrie exclusive on his biggest lesson from 2023 and why he believes he can become world No 1
Lexus ambassador Cameron Norrie looks back on a year that has highs and lows for a player who has ambitions to reach the very top.
Emma Raducanu’s special ranking won’t give her entry into Australian Open main draw so what next?
Emma Raducanu’s special ranking is not good enough for entry into the main draw of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic’s iconic racket is sold at auction and the price exceeds all expectations
The racket has been put up for sale on the SCP auction site, with an expectation that it would sell for a fee in excess of $50,000.