World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas expressed his regret after nearly hitting a ball kid during his quarterfinal match at the ongoing 2023 Australian Open.
Tsitsipas advanced to his fourth Australian Open semifinal on Tuesday, January 24. The Greek proved too strong for unseeded Czech Jiri Lehecka at Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-4.
However, the Greek was fortunate not to be disqualified after narrowly avoiding hitting a ball kid after losing his temper during the match. He was unable to reach a forehand from Jiri Lehecka, prompting him to whack the ball after it rebounded off the wall behind him. The ball came hazardously close to hitting the ball kid, but fortunately, nothing happened.
Following that, in his press conference, Stefanos Tsitsipas explained his actions, saying that he didn't do it on purpose and wasn't aiming at the ball kid, but rather at the wall.
"I saw the ball kid when the ball came back. I'm a professional tennis player. I was not aiming for the ball kid obviously. I saw the wall, just went back towards the wall. The ball kid, in my eyes, was pretty far away from me. Would have really had to miss to hit that ball kid," Tsitsipas said.
"Of course, it's not nice even to hit it back towards the wall. I personally don't think I hit it too hard. But doesn't matter. Doesn't matter," he added.
The former French Open finalist continued by saying that he wasn't proud of what he did, but that whatever happened was the result of the heat of the moment and his frustration, which he didn't let affect him any further in the remaining stages of the match.
"What I did, definitely I'm not happy about that. I shouldn't have done it. But it was part of the moment. My ball fell short. There was a little bit of frustration there, but things happen," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.
"I just continued and continued playing from that point onwards. I didn't let that affect me because the distance was pretty big and the margin, yeah, really had to do something different there," he added further.
"It's a match that I'm looking forward to" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on his semifinal match against Karen Khachanov
Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov in the semifinals on Friday, January 27, as he seeks his first Grand Slam title after losing in the semifinals at Melbourne Park the previous two years.
Tsitsipas stated that it is a match he is looking forward to, adding that he is "happy" with the way he has been playing so far and is excited to create some "magical experiences" in Australia.
"It's a match that I'm looking forward to. It's great to be back in the semifinals. Of course, I'm definitely happy with the way I've been playing so far. I'm looking ahead for more, for better. Looking to create some magical experiences here in Australia," the Greek said.