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pound cat
02-04-2006, 07:48 AM
Marcos Baghdatis has returned to Cyprus to the sort of rapturous welcome fit for the most famous sportsman in the country's history.

The 20-year-old's run to the Australian Open final captivated the island's population of 807,000, and in recent days his home village Paramytha has been inundated by hundreds of curious fans.

Football may be the country's national sport, and Olympiakos striker Michalis Konstantinou their most celebrated player, but Baghdatis' Melbourne exploits have put everyone else in the shade.

"You can't compare Marcos with anyone. He's way out on his own in terms of what he's achieved already," Soteris Charalambous, sports editor of the Cyprus Mail, told BBC Sport.

Should he ever win a Grand Slam, Baghdatis will surely usurp halloumi cheese as Cyprus' most celebrated export.

During his stay on his native island, the new hero will have a reception with president Tassos Papadopoulos, one of the thousands of new tennis fans he has inspired.

Even after his defeat in Sunday's final, crowds gathered in Paramytha's main square to celebrate his achievement and yet more fans draped flags at the Aghios Nikolaos roundabout in Limassol - all to a cacophony of fireworks, gunfire, church bells and music.


I hope people will understand that underneath it all is a 20-year-old still learning his trade

Soteris Charalambous
Cyprus Mail sports editor
"The streets were literally deserted when he was playing," said Charalambous.

"Everybody suddenly became a tennis fan. Every single home was fixed to the screens watching it.

"It was a complete buzz. It would be the equivalent of Tim Henman making the Wimbledon final."

And Charalambous believes Baghdatis' achievements will inspire his young countrymen and women to take up the game.

"Football is the big sport in Cyprus and I think tennis still has a way to go to steal football's mantle," he said.

"But Marcos has created a huge interest in tennis on the island.

"I went to schools where they were showing his matches on big screens and they were talking about getting hold of racquets and organising lessons.

"He's a new hero for these youngsters. Hopefully it'll lead to a growth in the participation of the game."

But with success comes expectation and Baghdatis, at just 20, will be under pressure to live up to his Melbourne form.

Charalambous says: "I've known him since he was young and he is a fairly grounded guy so I don't think it will go to his head.

"He's a very dedicated athlete and he really believes he has the skills to be one of the best tennis players in the world.

"The slightest slip or misplaced word can lead to another media circus of a negative kind, but I'm hoping that in Cyprus that won't happen.

"I hope he'll be treated fairly, that people will understand that underneath it all is a 20-year-old young man still learning his trade."

Californication
02-04-2006, 09:19 AM
Congrats to Marcos Baghdatis! Hopefully, Cyprus will have a lot more celebrating in their future when Baggy starts bagging some Slams!

pound cat
02-04-2006, 09:41 AM
Congrats to Marcos Baghdatis! Hopefully, Cyprus will have a lot more celebrating in their future when Baggy starts bagging some Slams!

Or even a couple of titles. His family is in the clothing business..they should start selling tennis equipment instead. Slogan "A tennis racket for every Cypriot child" LOL

= marios =
02-05-2006, 02:45 AM
That's only like 30 racquets. That's assuming you give them away for free since everyone there is so poor they could never sell them all, or any for that matter.

That just shows how little you know.

xanctus
02-05-2006, 02:21 PM
That just shows how little you know.

LOL...:D

pound cat
02-05-2006, 03:33 PM
His mother is proud...

http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/56743848.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=AAAB1D3D22B8F28C9FA81A0D8AD4B6C8

pound cat
02-05-2006, 03:34 PM
It's just too much

http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/56743841.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=AAAB1D3D22B8F28C4D81C37F9B158A30

pound cat
02-05-2006, 03:35 PM
Future tennis players..Cypriot children

http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/56743904.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=AAAB1D3D22B8F28C145999BA3DF7D3A6

Radical Shot
02-05-2006, 04:14 PM
Future tennis players..Cypriot children

http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/56743904.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=AAAB1D3D22B8F28C145999BA3DF7D3A6

Great photo. I reckon Fisher are going to clean up on tennis racquets in Cyprus. Their marketing people should be working overtime in this region of the world about now.

raftermania
02-05-2006, 11:01 PM
Wow all that attention for coming in second. I wonder what happens when he comes in first?

pound cat
02-06-2006, 03:52 AM
This also happened with Goran in Croatia, the difference being tht he was an established player.

Small country, positive happening, world stage. It was a right situation for Bagdatis who came out of nowhere and with his winning ways brought life to an otherwise boring (because of missing top players) Slam

If he had won the thing he may have had a nervous breakdown due to the expectations put on him. I think things worked out perfectly for him.

When does he play next?

Ela

xanctus
02-06-2006, 05:12 AM
Good to see those pictures...Hopefully CYpriots tennis will be prosperous!!

pound cat
02-06-2006, 05:59 AM
Hopefully St. Nicholas will bring a tennis racket as well as a soccer ball this year.

pound cat
02-06-2006, 12:29 PM
I have never posted this on any message board before, but Journeyman, you are an idiot.

No doubt you never go to the Danforth. Good. Stay out of the neighbourhood where nice people live.

pound cat
02-07-2006, 05:37 AM
3 pages of great pictures ...http://www.aapimage.com.au/fotoweb/imagestextview.fwx?Columns=1&Rows=9&SF_GROUP1_BOOLEAN=and&SF_GROUP2_BOOLEAN=and&SF_GROUP3_BOOLEAN=and&position=&SF_LASTSEARCH=&SF_FIELD1_GROUP=1&SF_FIELD2_GROUP=2&SF_FIELD3_GROUP=3&folderid=5000&Stemming=&Synonyms=&Phonic=&SF_FIELD3=&SubmitURL=%2Ffotoweb%2Fimagestextview.fwx&SF_SEARCHINRESULT=0&SF_FIELD1=baghdatis&SF_GROUP1_FIELD=&SF_FIELD1_MATCHTYPE=all&SF_FIELD2=

pound cat
02-07-2006, 06:01 AM
He has done a lot for his country and for the game of tennis ...Hope to see his game and results grow.

Baghdatis exempted from military service

Marcos Baghdatis

Associated Press

2/5/2006 12:11:54 PM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Marcos Baghdatis was granted a temporary exemption from military service with the Cypriot army, allowing him to concentrate on his career.

President Tassos Papadopoulos, who received Baghdatis at his home Sunday, granted the exemption. It is usually compulsory for Cypriot men to enlist after they graduate from high school.

Baghdatis, who became the first Cypriot to play in a Grand Slam final at last week's Australian Open, said it didn't mean he was refusing to serve.

"I believe I should do the army and serve my country," Baghdatis said. "I just need some peace of mind for a few years until my career is finished."

The 20-year-old beat seeded players Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic and David Nalbandian to reach the final in Melbourne, which he lost 7-5, 5-7, 0-6, 2-6 to top-ranked Roger Federer. He is now ranked 27th.





Baghdatis was welcomed to his hometown of Limassol on Saturday by thousands of people. On Sunday, hundreds crowded Nicosia's Eleftheria stadium to catch a glimpse of him.

He returns to his training base in France on Monday

Dedans Penthouse
02-07-2006, 12:42 PM
Even after his defeat in Sunday's final, crowds gathered in Paramytha's main square to celebrate his achievement.........all to a cacophony of fireworks, gunfire, church bells and music..."
"I shot a bullet into the air.....it fell to earth I know not where...."

Let me guess this straight: "Gunfire?"

WTH?...

pound cat
02-07-2006, 01:47 PM
Guns??? Souvenirs from the 2 years of compusory military service?




Don't shoot the messanger. I didn't write that article LOL

pound cat
02-12-2006, 01:54 PM
Military service...conclusion

Baghdatis can serve three months when he’s 32

THE DEFENCE Minister has announced that a recommendation has been made to the Council Of Ministers to grant tennis star Marcos Baghdatis a long-term postponement from military service to help him with his career.

Koulis Mavronicolas said that the 20-year-old can now wait until he is 32 before enlisting and will then only have to serve for a period of three months.

Petros Kareklas, who is the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, said the matter will be discussed by the Council on Wednesday, adding that there is “no chance that the recommendation will be rejected”.

“It’s just a formality,” he said

Last Sunday, President Tassos Papadopoulos, invited Baghdatis to the Presidential Palace in Nicosia for a one-hour meeting and personally assured him that the state would offer him every possible help and support in his career.

A government spokesman said Baghdatis told Papadopoulos of his fervent wish to serve in the National Guard but asked for a suspension of his military service while he forged ahead with his tennis career.

After the meeting, Baghdatis thanked Papadopoulos for his offer. “I want to say a big thank you for the help he is going to offer me, and the only thing I can assure him of is that I am always going to fight for my country with my racquet,” he said.