World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out of the ATP Finals with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 loss to Andrey Rublev, with his parents involved in a mid-game spat and the Greek star then playing down his opponent’s victory in his post-match comments.
During the match Tsitsipas could be seen hitting a ball in the direction of his mum and dad while they were involved in a heated exchange. Tsitsipas is coached by his dad Apostolos, while his mum Julia is a former WTA professional.
They are heavily invested in Tsitsipas’ career and he has previously admitted that it can get “a bit complicated” at times, with the pair giving him conflicting advice. “My mom, she knows a lot about tennis,” he said last year.
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“Sometimes it can be a bit complicated when she wants to give her own opinion or advice direct to me, then have my dad tell me something else. We’ve sat down and we said, ‘Guys, that’s my coach. Whatever opinions or whatever thoughts you have, has to be filtered through Apostolos, my father’. It can get quite hectic.”
And following his parents’ latest outburst, Tsitsipas lost his match against Rublev despite taking an early lead after hitting two double faults in one game. Despite the loss, Tsitsipas was adamant he remains a “better player” than Rublev and claimed the world No. 7 “prevailed with the few tools that he has”.
“It’s a shame,” Tsitsipas said of his defeat. “I feel like the better player. I felt like I could do more with the ball today. I felt like I could just be much more creative.
“I don’t even have to say that. I think it’s quite obvious. But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has. He was able to really take advantage of them and win today.”
Tsitsipas has never won a Grand Slam title and former world No. 1 Jim Courier believes the involvement of his parents is “hurting his chances to play good tennis”. Speaking on the Tennis Channel, Courier said: “My main takeaway from this is a little bit of a feeling of empathy for Stef Tsitsipas.
“Things that are out of his control are impacting him. His family, they’re so invested in his success. They want so much for him, they want to help him from the sidelines, but they’re just hurting him. And it’s hurting his chances to play good tennis.
“You saw how he threw his serve away with two double faults [in the third set]. He got lost in the match when his parents started jawing at each other.
“I just feel for the kid. Because Stef seems like a good guy to me, and he’s said time and time again he doesn’t want the input from the bench. But they give it to him anyway.
“It seems like they need a therapy session to figure it all out. Because they all want the same. They want their kid to do well, of course they do, but it’s just not working. The way it’s going about right now, it’s hurting him more than it’s helping.”