Stefanos Tsitsipas’ mum personally donates match kit to Wimbledon charity shop – EXCLUSIVE | Tennis | Sport

Stefanos Tsitsipas might have lost early in this year’s Championships but fans can still get a piece of him in Wimbledon.

After striking up a relationship with the staff last year, the world No. 11’s mum has been dropping off countless pieces of Tsitsipas’ match kits to the Shelter boutique charity shop in Wimbledon village.

Even after Tsitsipas crashed out of the singles and doubles draws this year, both Julia and Apostolos made sure to give as much as they could to Shelter, helping them raise money to ensure everyone can have a safe home.

“I found out about the charity last year when I was walking through Wimbledon Village and discovered the shop,” Tsitsiapas’ mum, Julia Salnikova, exclusively told Express Sport. “A historical tennis racket on display piqued my interest.

“I immediately got along really well with the people (Mirella) running the shop and after introducing the charity to Stefanos we already started to donate some of his items last year. And so we did in 2024 again. I recommend a visit! The shop is really great and every purchase helps to defend the right to a safe home!”

As Mirella tells it, it’s a story about “customer service” and how you never know who or what you’re opening the door to. Since they met, Tsitsipas’ family have donated personalised match kits, both worn and unworn, countless pairs of shoes from Stefanos and Petros, and signed memorabilia from sweatbands to water bottles.

“I was closing up and this lady was well beyond the closing time. If we close at 6, at 6.30 she was still here,” Mirella told Express Sport of her chance meeting with Julia. “I opened the door for her to leave and this lady looks in and she says, Can I have a look? And I say, Why not? I have to hoover, do the till, you can look at everything you want. It struck a mutual relationship, I can’t say a friendship that we’re texting each other.”

Since then, Mirella has taken the time to help Julia, from delivering items to the Tsitsipas’ rented Wimbledon home and sending any packages that the family missed when they left London to fly back home. She continued: “She said, Don’t worry, I’ll bring you more things – signed. And this is it. But it stems from good customer service. And that’s what started it.”

Last year, Shelter in Wimbledon village raised over £2,000 alone from the donated items, which included a high-spec racket designed especially for the 11-time tour title winner. And they are on course to raise as much, if not more, in 2024. This year, both of Tsitsipas’ parents got involved.

Julia brought a donation before Mirella was invited to their home to receive more from Apostolos. And you can tell they have thought it out, bringing old kits including pieces from the 2023 US Open and this year’s Australian Open, Monte Carlo and French Open outfits, plus a worn shirt from Wimbledon.

Apostolos donated seven pairs of shoes and frantically dumped water out of bottles to throw them in too. “When the father kept putting them [the shoes] in, I felt like saying, stop! Maybe your sons want to use them again? Maybe you guys want to use another pair for someplace else?” Mirella laughed.

“Very, very lovely people. I don’t think they knew about this charity dropping as of last year when I opened the door to, how would you say, a huge fortune for the charity. I don’t think they knew about it because when I told [Julia] the amount of money that it goes for this, it goes for that. She was, ‘Oh thank you, thank you. That is amazing. That is absolutely amazing.’”

It begs the question as to what other players do with their stuff. After all, they wear one specific look per tournament or portion of the season, then it’s never seen again. Some have donated to other charity shops in Wimbledon village over the years – Mirella previously worked at the Red Cross and team members would quietly bring sacks.

Her colleague, Steven, says Kyle Edmund’s dad donated some of his old kit to Cancer Research a few years ago. And an agent, believed to be representing Naomi Osaka, brought pieces from her custom Nike clothing range to Shelter last year. Now, they’d love to see more players follow suit in 2025 and donate any old items to the charity shops in the local area.

“All I can say is we’re super delighted and generous and we’re speechless to know that not too much effort, it all came in. But like I said, you never know who is at the door,” Mirella concluded. “You can tell [Julia] is a woman who goes out of her way. Because this is a woman, even last year, getting her son to sit down to sign it. She’s a woman that went out of her way.”

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