NICOSIA, 18 May 2009 - The fact that
Cyprus is hosting the XIII Games of the Small States of
Europe (1-6 June) has been the biggest motivation for
tennis player Photos Kallias to take part. It is the
first time that the Cypriot athlete will be taking part
in the Games. He explains, "The feeling you get when you
play in front of your own crowd, your compatriots, is a
truly unique feeling which is hard to beat. From what
I've heard, a lot of people will turn up at the Games
and not only from Cyprus, but from abroad as well. I
hope we can please them with our performances."
Much of the hope for success will rest on
the shoulders of Kallias with Cyprus' number one player,
Marcos Baghdatis, almost certain to miss the Games. "Our
aim is to secure a medal and, why not, gold one at that.
From what I know, a lot of good players from other
nations will be turning up and that makes our job more
difficult. But I honestly believe that on a good day, if
the conditions are right and we don't have any injuries,
then we can achieve our target", said Kallias who added,
"The fact that I will be the Cyprus number one for these
Games doesn't mean anything. If Marcos takes part,
then he will be number one.
Regardless of my position,
the effort will remain the same."
Kallias went on to say that the games in
Cyprus will help the sport on the island move more
forward: "We need to host Games like these, at least for
the sake of tennis. This way, we won't feel cut off from
the rest of the world. We won't feel that international
Games only take place abroad and we are out of sight."
The Cypriot champion is currently
training in Barcelona and is set to take part in a
tournament there. He will then travel to the Canary
Islands for another tournament before returning to
Cyprus. Despite carrying a slight injury to his hand
(swelling), he is expected to recover in time for the