My Oulu: Tennis coach Antonis Kappatos came from Greece to Oulu to his own discomfort zone

Antonis Kappatos, a tennis coach at Oulun Verkkopalloseura sports club, feels that the interest in tennis in Oulu is growing and the level of players is improving. Photo: Minna Mäki-Heikkilä

My Oulu


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Antonis Kappatos wanted to work as a tennis coach in Oulu because he felt that his own tennis district in Greece no longer provided opportunities for personal development. Kappatos himself has gone through a period of life coaching.

“It made me a person I didn’t even know I was. Now in Oulu, my compass is fear because I am in an area of discomfort, abroad in an environment where everything is foreign,” he says.

A good person – a good athlete

Kappatos first came to Oulu for a probationary period last August.

In the city, he will be training tennis players aged 10–65 for Oulun Verkkopalloseura at least until October this year. All kinds of coaching material can be found here, from junior competitors to hobby players.

Kappatos treats growing up as an athlete as a spiritual development, although he admits that very successful, big athlete names have big egos.

“In coaching, the most important thing for me is to help each player grow into the best possible version of themselves. It’s about communication: how you could grow into a better person. The whole personality comes before the identity of a sportsman and if you become a good person, you can also become a good athlete.”

Everything is going well for me and tennis is going well when people are nice.

Kappatos adds that the player must also have good self-knowledge.

“It develops the humility needed in sports,” he says.

Finnish tennis could manage better

Kappatos came to Oulu from the island of Kefalonia in Greece.

“It’s +30 degrees for seven months of the year. In all, the weather here is a big challenge, but I want to face my fears. I have never experienced a hard winter, but I follow my passion. If all people followed their passion, this planet would be perfect. Everything is going well for me and tennis is going well when people are nice.”

Kappatos has reached number 16 in the men’s tennis ranking in Greece. He describes the Finnish level of tennis as better than standard level.

“This tiny country could do better. Oulu, too, is active in tennis, interest is growing all the time and the level is improving.”

Adrenaline rushes drive forward

When arriving in Oulu and Finland, Kappatos knew nothing of either.

“I’d like to see the northern lights,” he mentions.

Kappatos plays all kinds of sports that get the adrenaline going. That is why he will not be seen fishing in the middle of town.

All in all, it is far too slow for his temper.

The article was published for the first time 8th November 2021.