Born in Limassol in 1985, Marcos is the country’s most famous sportsman, having made a name for himself in the international tennis world with a number of accolades and achievements under his belt, including reaching the Australian Open final in 2006 and defeating talents including Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic and David Nalbandian to get there. Then there was his Grand Slam success shortly after, proceeded with an unforgettable semi-final run at Wimbledon, breaking into the elite Top Ten after that.
With sports having always been a big part of his life, his love for tennis began at the young age of five, then deciding that he wanted to turn his passion into a profession at the age of 11. By the time he was 13, Marcos stood as number one senior player in Cyprus and soon jetted off for more challenging competition abroad.
To get where he is today, Marcos had to endure a grueling training programme and set aside pleasures which most people take for granted, but he does now try hard to maintain balance between everyday life and preparation for matches. In his free time, he loves a good sushi dinner and a glass of wine with his wife, Karolina Sprem. He also has a soft spot for his mother’s lasagna, four-cheese pasta, and a good bbq! But most of all, he’s a family guy, and absolutely loves spending time watching his daughter Zahara growing up.
Always returning to Cyprus for his holidays when he gets the chance, My Cyprus Insider asks him questions about his life on the island. Read on!
1. Three things you most love about Cyprus…
The amazing beaches, the fantastic nature and the weather…having sunshine most of the year round is something you really miss when you’re abroad!
2. Most beloved spot on the island?
I can’t speak of one specific spot, but my most beloved place to be in Cyprus is by the beach. Even when you’re not swimming, just looking out at the waves and endless sea is something special in itself. Being able to walk by the sea is always calming and uplifting.
3. Favourite town?
Limassol! It’s the town I know best, and the one that I called home up until my early teens. Not much can replace the place that you grew up or the ties that you have to the areas that you spent during your childhood.
4. From sunrise to sunset, what’s your ideal weekend break?
Because the time I get to spend in Cyprus is quite limited, any weekend I do get to enjoy the island is pretty ideal! I’d say that my perfect weekend would be a combination of lots of things: great swimming in the sea, lots of good food, a trip up to the mountains for a cool off, and maybe the chance to stay at a nice hotel somewhere away from it all for moments of ultimate relaxation!
5. A day at the beach or mountains?
I always like to keep active, so both appeal to me! Nothing beats swimming in the sea but there’s also so much to enjoy in the mountains. I love the nature trails in the Troodos Mountains and being able to walk with family or friends, taking in the fresh air and wonderful scenery is really an experience that you’ve got to live.
6. Favourite place for a drink?
Anywhere with a view and outdoor area! The great thing about Cyprus is that you can enjoy your drinks at night outside; the warm summer evenings are something you don’t get in many places. If the place has a view of the sea as the sun sets, then it really is a magical experience.
7. If you were to recommend a visitor tries just one local dish, what would it be?
Could I say juicy souvlakia (kebab) in pitta bread? It’s one of the things I think probably every Cypriot misses the most when they no longer live on the island! But of course, there are other things that people have to try like mousaka, koupepia (stuffed vine leaves), gemista (stuffed vegetables) and the list goes on. All with a fresh village salad of course; nothing beats the amazing taste of Cyprus vegetables with a bit olive oil and lemon.
8. Best season in Cyprus?
Summer is really amazing, but if you like to keep really active and enjoy outdoor sports, then the spring and autumn can be really great, when the temperature is just right; nor too hot or too cold to really make the most of having fun outside!