After leaving the Soviet Union, she was only able to achieve a career-high WTA ranking of 194th in 1990, focusing instead on playing mostly in French club leagues.
Despite the early highs, Apostoli is reluctant to call her own tennis achievements “great.”
“Yes, now I can understand what a huge achievement it was, but at that time, no,” she said. “When you work, and you have some talent in a game and it comes naturally, it doesn’t really impress you so much. But now I understand that it wasn’t easy, because the competition was really, really strong.”
After she married Apostolos Tsitsipas, her tennis focus centered on her children, the first of whom, Stefanos, seemed especially ready for the sport since he was born.
“Believe me: my doctor, who helped me to deliver the child, he told me that Stefanos was coming out with his hand up, like a tennis player,” Apostoli said, laughing and holding her arm as if ready to hit an overhead smash.
Though she had been a world-class player at a young age, Apostoli doubted her ability to raise a champion.
“I always knew he was going to do something in tennis, but I didn’t know how,” she said.
Apostolos Tsitsipas took the lead from there, formally studying coaching so he could guide Stefanos into the pro ranks. Still, Apostoli continued to have her say on his career, eager to make sure his work stayed rigidly structured, in keeping with the Soviet ethos she knew.