WATCH: The Greek finished his Roland Garros preparations with a loss to Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals in Rome.


For Stefanos Tsitsipas, friendship is magic. In his pre-tournament press conference at Roland Garros, the Greek star opened up about how much he's enjoyed getting to know athletes from other sports.

While one of his new friends is obvious—his countryman, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo—another might be less so: He's become buddies with Swiss soccer star Alisha Lehmann, who plays for Aston Villa's women's team in the Premier League.

The two struck up a friendship earlier this year on social media, and in recent months, have sent each other gifts: Tsitsipas sent Lehmann a signed Wilson racquet, while she gifted him a jersey with her name and number. In the comments of one post, she even agreed to play mixed doubles with Tsitsipas' younger brother, Petros.

"I’m a big supporter of Aston Villa, have always been a supporter of the team," Tsitsipas said Friday. "Alisha is a gifted athlete, plays very good football. I have always had that idea in my head to make friends from each different sports in different backgrounds. One of them is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a basketball player, and we stay in touch quite frequently.

"I wanted to do the same from the other gender, and it has been actually very inspiring. It’s so beautiful to kind of relate on things and talk openly on stuff I’m not used to, talk with regular people. It has evolved into a very nice friendship. I just wish her the best. I’m supporting her quite often."

Tsitsipas said that his attempts to bond with other athletes stem from a desire to expand his social circle—something that he feels he didn't have the opportunity to do in his youth due to his singular focus on tennis.

"I think it’s important to have that sort of attitude towards others, wishing them big success, wishing them health, and also be able to talk openly about just different stuff and talk about sports, talk about the hustle and the difficulties and the adversity that we have to overcome to thrive in what we do," he said. "It’s something that I have been very carefully started building.

"When I was younger, I had a phase where I’m like, 'I’m just going to focus on my tennis, I won’t focus on any friends right now, this is not an important part of my life to be making friends.'

"Right now I’m at a phase of my life where having friends and having different type of communications and connections with people means so much to me because I’m learning so much through that, which ultimately just makes me a better person which I’m aiming for every single day."