Ioannis Papapetrou returning to the Final Four: “I hope it doesn’t take another seven years”

2024-05-23T20:40:42+00:00 2024-05-23T20:41:46+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

23/May/24 20:40

Helping Panathinaikos get back to the EuroLeague Final Four 12 years in the making, Ioannis Papapetrou spoke before facing Fenerbahce

By Cesare Milanti /

BERLIN, Germany – Coming up short against Fenerbahce in the 2017 EuroLeague Final Four, Ioannis Papapetrou is finally back in the élite of the competition. “It feels great, I hope it doesn’t take another seven years because I will be too old for the next one”, he replied when asked how was he feeling after returning to such a spectacle.

Both Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce had to go through a lot this year. “We were a brand new team, with a lot of new players. We needed time, we had some early injuries during the season. We needed time to fight, play better, and be in a better position obviously“, he first said about his team.

“As far as Fener, for sure they needed time too. They changed coach, Saras brought a lot of new things to the team, and he added his character to the team. Both of us evolved during the season and play the best basketball now”, he also commented about his opponents for tomorrow’s do-or-die clash.

Fenerbahce is leading the EuroLeague in three-pointers, and that could play a huge role in the Semi-Finals in Berlin. “It would be great to limit that”, he first said. “More important for me is to stop their creation. They shoot well the ball because they move it well and they have great shooters. They know how to move the ball and get the guys open. We have to limit that and be over-aggressive to that creation”, the Greek forward also said.

Becoming a better player and person with Zeljko Obradovic

The approach Ioannis Papapetrou has had all throughout the season spoke highly about his experience. “This is life. You try to be the best version of yourself every day, you try to give your maximum effort and concentration. Personally, that’s how I approach life, as a journey. I try to learn and be better, no matter the circumstances, no matter the injuries. I try to continue and be true to my work, and stay positive”, he said.

Returning to OAKA after one season in Partizan Belgrade, he believes playing with Zeljko Obradovic made him grow. Zeljko [Obradovic] is in my opinion the best coach to ever do it, or one of the best arguably. It’s amazing playing for him because not only do you learn a lot but you improve a lot as a player and as a person also. I’ve spoken about this many times. I’m very thankful for this experience because I really think he helped me grow and be a better player, better person”, he underlined.

Finally, he made a promise ahead of the game with Fenerbahce. “I don’t wish to have my best games this weekend, I wish we win these two games and take the trophy. That’s what I wish. I know from my part I will give 100%, no matter what the result will be. I will give my best self and my maximum effort”, Ioannis Papapetrou said.

“I prepared for this moment and I feel great, so I wish we go out and win. I’ve never cared about personal achievements in my life. There are not a lot of moments I can hold on to, I really believe the past belongs to the past. The most important thing is now. We need to focus on this”, he concluded.

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