João Sousa in an exclusive interview with Eleven Sports

João Sousa was the special guest of another Planet Eleven, live, on Eleven Sports Facebook. At the age of 31, João Sousa is the best Portuguese tennis player ever, occupying the 66th place in the ATP Tour ranking. The tennis player from Guimarães is MEO’s ambassador and won the Estoril Open in 2018.

About Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, who was infected with COVID-19, and was the organizer and main attraction at the exhibition tennis tournament – Adria Tour – where many players were contaminated, João Sousa said: “I think we are giving too much emphasizes a mistake by Djokovic but the mistake was from the organization. Djokovic did not do this for money, but to help tennis. There was a lot of criticism, I also didn’t think it was right because the necessary measures were not taken, but the criticisms should be for the organization and not for Novak Djokovic.”

Training with Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev, currently number 5 on the ATP Tour, João Sousa confided “It has been great to be able to train this week with Medvedev, top 5 in the ranking. Good training intensity is excellent for the purpose of preparing for a return to competition.”

After the injury to his left foot, contracted at the end of last season, which forced him to withdraw from participating in the ATP 250 in Marseille, João Sousa tried to recover during the quarantine.

The Portuguese tennis player shared good news about his recovery “I had a foot injury that prevented me from being 100%, I dragged the injury to the beginning of the year, but the advantage of this forced stop was to recover the injury and I’m already 100%.”

Referring to Novak Djokovic and what it’s like to face the Serbian tennis player on the court, João Sousa said: “Playing against Djokovic is like playing against a wall, it’s incredible. He is the player who played the most and lost the most. But every time I lost, I lost better and better.”

For João Sousa, when playing with the top tennis players in the ATP Tour ranking, there is only one goal: “Nowadays I am no longer nervous about playing against the best in the world, the goal is always to try to win”

In 2018 João Sousa became the first Portuguese to win the Estoril Open by beating the American Frances Tiafoe in the final. On that day, the Portuguese tennis player said that: “a few months ago I had the opportunity to see a video that the organization of the Millennium Estoril Open tournament made, and the truth is that I give more value now to what I have achieved, and to the whole environment that existed around there, and it even thrills me to see the video. It was a very special week for me, it was the best week of my career, and it also turns out to be a reward for all the work I have done over the years. I believe that Portugal already deserved such a feat, not because it was me, but because of that, a Portuguese man was able to do it, because Portugal at this moment has a lot of talent but this feat was missing to realize that Portugal also has a very high name in tennis and it turns out to be very good for national tennis and obviously also for me.”

Still on the Estoril Open 2018, João Sousa recalled a funny moment with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, which happened after the victory celebrations; “I was in the dressing room talking to Frederico and my brother, and in the meantime, I prepared to go to bathe. After a minute, the President enters the shower. I didn’t even have time to think about anything, I just put a towel around and, completely soaked, gave me a hug. It was the most cartoonish moment of my career so far.”

One of João Sousa’s sponsors is MEO, of which he is a brand ambassador. “MEO’s role has been fundamental, especially in this less good phase. The sources of income at the level of prize money are nil, because there are no tournaments. Unfortunately, we were unable to make money, so the help of our sponsors turns out to be crucial, highlighting the support of MEO and also of Millennium BCP. You have been very supportive and have done a great job at all levels, so I thank you for all the confidence you have maintained in me over the years. At such a difficult time for all of them, they have stayed by my side. I can only be thankful for that and I hope that in the future we can achieve many things together, as we have been achieving. With their support and that of all the Portuguese who support and push me. I hope in the future to be able to give a lot of joy and to be able to continue doing what I like, which is playing tennis and competing at the highest level.”

The full interview can be viewed on On Demand on the Eleven Sports streaming service here and heard on Podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

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