"They've been targeting me a long time, I feel I have been a victim" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on constantly receiving coaching violations

Apostolos (L) & Stefanos Tsitsipas
Apostolos (L) & Stefanos Tsitsipas
Sudeshna Banerjee

Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten by Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Friday in a match that had its fair share of drama. The World No. 4 was given a code violation early in the fourth set for receiving illegal coaching from his father-cum-coach Apostolos. The Greek failed to win a single game afterwards.

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Medvedev had earlier accused Tsitsipas of receiving on-court coaching. The Russian even got involved in a heated spat with chair umpire Jaume Campistol for not clamping down immediately.

Tsitsipas has received numerous code violations for coaching over the course of his career, including in his third-round clash with Benoit Paire. The Greek, on his part, feels he gets targeted unnecessarily.

During his post-match press conference, the Roland Garros runner-up described himself as a "victim," and pointed out how his opponent's box is never given attention during matches.

"I'm used to it," he said. "They've been targeting me already a long time. I feel like I've gotten a few in the past, and the umpires are always paying attention to my box, never paying attention to the opponent's box. I feel I have been a victim of that for a long time now."

Tsitsipas insisted that he always prefers finding solutions on the court himself instead of listening to his coach's advice.

"I mean, what can I say?" he asked. "The referees, I don't think they will ever understand that I cannot hear anything when I'm playing because I'm trying to find solutions and try and read the game and recreate the game in my mind before the point starts. Last thing I want is someone giving me tips and giving me advice on what I should do."

When pressed on the matter, Tsitsipas denied receiving any coaching during his semifinal clash with Medvedev. He explained that it's impossible for him to hear anything his coach says from that far.

"I wasn't," said Tsitsipas. "I mean, you saw me the other day, losing the score twice in two of my matches. I cannot hear anything when I'm playing. It's impossible. Having the crowd being so loud in every single point, I mean, you have to have super hearing to be able to hear what your coach says.
"I was laughing the other day, because I think in my match with Benoit Paire, I think my coach was, like, five kilometers away the other end, and somehow I got a coaching violation," he added. "I just, I think that was the funniest moment of the Australian Open."

"Spent countless hours trying to figure it out with him" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on having discussions with his father on coaching from the box

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) with his father at 2022 Melbourne Summer Set
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) with his father at 2022 Melbourne Summer Set

Despite Tsitsipas' denial, Eurosport reported that the Greek's' father did try to pass on advice to his son in the fourth set, which was intercepted by tournament referee Eva Asderaki-Moore. Having positioned herself below Tsitsipas' player box, she caught Apostolos coaching from the stands and then conveyed the same to Campistol, who issued a warning.

Babsi Schett on Eurosport confirms that the tournament referee is now sitting below Tsitsipas's box - along with Eva Azderaki-Moore, who speaks Greek. Hence the coaching violation, one assumes.

When asked if he has had any discussions on the issue of on-court coaching with his father, Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted to spending "countless hours" trying to figure out a solution.

"Yeah, I've had that discussion," he said. "I mean, my father, look, he's a person that when he gets into something when there is a lot of action, his medicine is to talk, and you can't stop it. It's something that he does from nature. I've talked to him about it. I've tried, spent countless hours trying to figure it out with him, but it's part of him.
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep receiving coaching violations, even though I will never listen to any single thing he says," he added. "But it's fine, they can do that if they want, if they believe it's right."

Tsitsipas also revealed that this longstanding issue was what prompted him to ask last year for coaching to be allowed on the ATP tour. He feels that with coaching from the box being prevalent on the tour nowadays, it should be made legal.

"That was also one of the reasons last year I went out publicly on one of my social media platforms and said that I think coaching should be allowed, simply because coaches do it anyways," he said. "Most of them get away with it, and they do it pretty smartly, I can tell you."

"He runs like a marathon runner" - Stefanos Tsitsipas on Daniil Medvedev

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) & Daniil Medvedev shake hands after their semifinal at 2022 Australian Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) & Daniil Medvedev shake hands after their semifinal at 2022 Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas also had high praise for his conqueror, Daniil Medvedev. Although the two haven't always been on good terms, the Greek had nothing but respect for the World No. 2's physicality, which he likened to Rafael Nadal's. However, he also questioned whether Medvedev's style of play was sustainable in the long run.

"Yeah, he's a great competitor," he said. "He runs like marathon runner, he can run for hours and hours. I'm not sure myself if that's something that can last very long, having to run so much. Speaking from experiences like other players and champions, Grand Slam champions that I've seen, it had a huge impact to their body.
"But I respect the fact that he's able to run so much and make it physical out there in every single point," he added. "Oh, yeah, he's one of the biggest fighters, together with Nadal. I guess he's earned the title."

Edited by Arvind Sriram


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