Greek reflects on physical struggles in Turin
Stefanos Tsitsipas apologized to the fans during his press conference on Tuesday at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he retired three games into his match with Holger Rune due to a back injury. The Greek has withdrawn from the season finale and will be replaced in Green Group by Hubert Hurkacz.
“My apologies to all the fans and the crowd that came to support me today and watch the match. I’m really gutted that I wasn’t able to finish the match. It’s a shame also not to give that spot to someone else to at least try and do something with it,” Tsitsipas said. “My doctors and the countless visits that I had in the past few days suggested that I play, gave me the green light to go and try it for myself.
“Unfortunately, I felt terrible on the court. I did what I could do in the best possible way to be ready and fit for this match, but it didn’t work out for me.”
Tsitsipas held his lone service game against Rune and earned two break points against the Dane. But at the first changeover, he retired.
“I hate retiring from matches,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m not the kind of person that likes leaving mid match. It kills me not to be able to finish this tournament, the one that I’ve prepped for for so long, made sure that I’m completely fit to perform at my best and show my capacities as a player.”
The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion provided further insight into his physical struggles, revealing he has not spent a lot of time on court the past few days.
“I had a little bit of trouble with my movement. It’s mainly affected when I move. It’s difficult to compete in the match without having to move. This is tennis. This is not darts,” Tsitsipas said. “For me, it’s important to be fit and feel good with my back. The pain was very big. I’ve gone through pain during matches in the past, and I endured pain, but this was clearly too much to handle.
“I had to take the difficult decision to do what I did. I felt it at the second game of the match. I actually felt it in the warm-up with my serve. Warming up on my serve, I felt very irritated and lots of pain hitting me on my back. I kind of knew at that time that I might not be able to go all the way.”
Two years ago in Turin, Tsitsipas withdrew from the Nitto ATP Finals following his first match of round-robin play. This year he lost his opener against Jannik Sinner and then attempted to take the court against Rune, but was unable to finish the match. Hurkacz will play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday.
“It’s very unfortunate. I’ve had two editions here in Turin where I had to withdraw from the tournament. Never happened to me before that I had to withdraw. Very, very few occasions that I can recall on that matter,” Tsitsipas said. “It definitely hurts me a lot because this is the tournament that means the most to me, including the Grand Slams. I’m not able to compete the way I want to compete.”