|AJ Lim (left) of the Philippines and Stefanos Tsitsipas (right) of Greece shakes hands during the press conference of their Davis Cup World Group II tie at the Philippine Columbian Association in Paco, Manila.|
By Kristoffer Ed Bellen
MANILA—Philippines’ top two singles player AJ Lim is all but excited to once again have a shot to face ATP world number 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas when they battle each other for the first singles rubber to open things up between the Philippines and Greece’s Davis Cup World Group II Playoff tie at the Philippine Columbian Association on Friday.
Lim, 20, and Tsitsipas, 21, grew up playing together, as well as, against each other, during their years at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Juniors Circuit several years back when they are still trying to make a name for themselves in the tennis sport.
As a matter of fact, the two have already crossed roads as early as 2015 at the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship at Plantation, Florida, a Grade A ITF Juniors event, where Lim and his Egyptian partner Youssef Hossam defeated Tsitsipas and Jurabek Karimov of Uzbekistan, 7-5, 1-6, 9-11, in the doubles quarterfinal.
“I think, it’s just a good experience. I’m just really excited to play against him. All I can promise is I will do my best and I am really excited for tomorrow’s match,” Lim, who had a career high rank as the world number 12 in juniors, uttered.
In the professional tour, though, Lim and Tsitsipas travelled on two separate ways as the former is currently ranked as the world number 1,681 while the latter have already won five ATP Tour titles and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last year.
When asked about whether he remembers their first meeting before, Tsitsipas said: “Maybe, I do remember something. I did my last juniors seriously so I think I remember you [AJ]. We played a lot of matches in juniors, I don’t remember most of my junior teammates but I think you’re [AJ] up here so it’s really nice to be facing you again, now in the Davis Cup.
“You have a good game for sure and he [AJ] sure has a winning record against me so I’ll be taking this seriously.”
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