One more Greek – the ‘awesome’ Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo above by inaek.com) has done for Greece more than any advertising and communications campaigns ever will.

Just two years after NBA giant ‘Greek Freak’ Giannis Antetokounmpo made Greece a household name worldwide, comes the 21-year-old Tsitsipas who ousted six-time winner Roger Federer by winning Sunday’s ATP Finals in London.

Born in Athens to a Greek father and Russian mother, Tsitsipas is the first Greek tennis player to raise the trophy and the youngest debut ATP final victor beating Thiem 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4) in London on Sunday.

Greece’s 24-year-old Milwaukee Bucks superstar Antetokounmpo sent out his support to Tsitsipas via his Instagram account “Keep Going, Don’t Stop”.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: A star athlete for a star destination: Greece.

As of late Greek tourism stakeholders have begun to see the obvious and instant opportunities from Greece’s sports victories towards the tourism promotion of the country. 

Last year, Antetokoumbo was named tourism ambassador with a promotional video he featured in going viral within hours.

Greece Taps into Sports to Win Tourists

What a run? 42.7km from Marathon to Athens aka the Athens Marathon

Some of the main sporting events of international appeal in Greece include the Athens Marathon. The Authentic, which has grown from a small mostly local event to welcoming some 60,000 runners from across the globe earlier this month. 

The annual running event, which was listed by Forbes as worth traveling to Europe for, is based on the historic 42.1km route which ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides ran from Marathon to to announce in Athens that the Greeks had beat the Persians at the Battle of Marathon.

Every year, the luxury Costa Navarino resort in the Peloponnese hosts the PGA-certified Messinia Pro-Am golf tournament scheduled for February 19-22, 2020 and bringing to Greece some the sport’s biggest players to its awarded golf courses.

Golf + a spectacular view at the Costa Navarino. Photo: Costa Navarino

Every summer, destinations across Greece, hold running, triathlon, biking, and swimming events aiming to win over sports-minded travelers and tap into a growing interest in health and wellness. Whether it’s the annual mini marathon on the island of Spetses set for October 9-11, 2020, the half marathon in Nafplion and Thessaloniki, the multisport Navarino Challenge held at the Costa Navarino in Messinia, the freediving championships on the island of Amorgos, the Spartathlon long-distance running event held in fall every year and spanning 246kms from Athens to Sparta, or the competitive climbing events on the island of Kalymnos, Greece is finally diversifying its tourism product perhaps later than it should have but in time for the increasing interest in adventure, experience and well-being.

Daring and exhilarating: Climbing in Kalymnos. Photo: climbingfestivalkalymnos

Greek Winners in Sports

Stefanos Tsitsipas – Tennis – ATP Finals 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo – basketball – led the Milwaukee Bucks in 2017: In all five major categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. In June 2019, he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player.

Greek National Team (Ethniki Ellados) – football  – UEFA Euro – 2004  Greece stole the show during the 12th edition of the UEFA European Championship defeating host Portugal and winning the first UEFA title in its history.

Greek National Team – basketball – As hosts of the 1987 EuroBasket, Greece defeated the Soveit Union Russia in front of 17,000 screaming Greek fans winning the gold medal with a thrilling 103–101 with Greece pride and joy Greek-American Nikos Galis scoring 40 points.

Congratulations Stefane and as Nikos Portolaloglou’s song says:

“We are the Champs!

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