Michaela Laki: the rising tennis star of Greece

Micah Laki. Credit: Michaela Man/Facebook

Michaela Laki is Greece’s rising tennis star, as her recent successful performance in the 2022 Australian Open Juniors proved.

The 16-year-old tennis prodigy made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament, but failed to reach the semifinals after losing 2-0 (6-4, 6-2) to American Liv Hovde early on Thursday.

However, Laki is currently number 6 on the board and number 11 in the world rankings and has just entered her first quarterfinal in a Grand Slam.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

In other words, the future is wide open for Michaela Laki, who says she draws her inspiration from Greek tennis stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari.

Michaela Laki at the Australian Open Juniors

Greece’s rising tennis star made her successful Australian Open debut by beating Switzerland’s No. 38 Chelsea Fontenel 2-0 (7-6 (3), 6-0).

Laki then defeated Briton Ranah Akua Stoiber (No. 41) 2-1 (4-6 6-4 6-4) in the second round of the girls’ singles and advanced to the quarter-finals.

After her second win, the Greek wonder took a big win in the third set tiebreak after a big loss against the Czech No. 35 Dominika Salkova and qualified for her first quarterfinal in a Grand Slam.

In the quarterfinals against the American Liv Hovde (no. 20), the Greek tennis player got off to a bad start. She made a lot of mistakes and finished 1-5 in the first set.

Nevertheless, Laki made an impressive comeback, after narrowing it to 5-4, 0-30 and being two points away from a break that would result in a draw. However, the 16-year-old American served well and took four points in a row to end the first set 6-4.

This gave Hovde momentum to play a perfect second set, in which Laki again made a lot of mistakes, resulting in a 6-0 tie against her.

The rising tennis star from Larissa

Born on March 24, 2005 in Tyrnavos, Larissa, Laki started playing tennis at the age of five and her obvious love for the sport led her to the start of a glittering career.

Through intensive training of more than four hours a day, led by coach Phoebus Michalopoulos, the young girl improved her skills.

She said she owes much to the invaluable help of her parents and three siblings, without whom she could not have reached the point she is today.

On July 28, 2019, she played in the final of the European U14 Championship in Most, Czech Republic, just becoming the second Greek teenage girl to play a final in the tournament after Lena Daniilidou in 1996.

At the age of 16, after participating in top tournaments, Laki became an ambitious athlete full of excitement for the sport and sheer determination to succeed.

In June 2021, she played at Wimbledon for the first time, losing 2-0 to American Elizabeth Coleman.

In her first participation in Rolland Garros she managed to make it to the 16 best of the event in the Junior category.

The young player suffered a major defeat against Sofia Kostoula, who plays for Belgium, and won 2-1 sets (4-6, 6-2, 7-6).

Laki managed to make a huge stunt in the tiebreak of the third set, in a match that lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Inspiration from Tsitsipas and Sakkari

For a Greek girl like Michaela, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari are obviously the tennis players to look up to.

“For every Greek athlete, Stefanos and Maria are a great inspiration,” Laki told itftennis.com.

“They motivate us to do our best and achieve our goals. They also make us feel like we can do the same as them. It’s very special to be at the same tournament and it motivates me to do my best and just like them,” she told the tennis news channel during the Australian Open.

“I was really excited to see Stefanos play after my match and I was screaming, ‘Vamos, Stef’, ‘Vamos, Stef’, and I do the same with Maria. I’m always super excited when I see them play and I really like the way they play,” she said.

As for international players, Michaela says she admires Roger Federer and Serena Williams the most.

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