Stefanos Tsitsipas Forced to Retire from Nitto ATP Finals Due to Back Injury
Greek Tennis Star Apologizes to Fans for Early Exit
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the talented Greek tennis player, expressed his heartfelt apologies to fans and spectators during a press conference on Tuesday at the Nitto ATP Finals. Tsitsipas was forced to retire from his match against Holger Rune after just three games due to a debilitating back injury. As a result, he has withdrawn from the season finale, making way for Hubert Hurkacz to replace him in the Green Group.
“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 expressed with regret. He further explained that his doctors had given him the green light to play, but unfortunately, he felt terrible on the court and his efforts to be ready and fit for the match were in vain.
Despite holding his lone service game against Rune and even earning two break points against the Dane, Tsitsipas made the difficult decision to retire at the first changeover. “I hate retiring from matches. 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 so long, made sure that I’m completely fit to perform at my best and show my capacities as a player,” Tsitsipas expressed his disappointment.
The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion shed light on his physical struggles, revealing that he had not spent much time on the court in 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 explained. He emphasized the importance of being fit and feeling good with his back, stating that the pain he experienced during this match was too much to handle.
Reflecting on his decision to retire, Tsitsipas shared, “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.”
This is not the first time Tsitsipas has faced such a setback at the Nitto ATP Finals. Two years ago in Turin, he withdrew from the tournament following his first round-robin match. This year, after losing his opener against Jannik Sinner, Tsitsipas attempted to take the court against Rune but was unable to finish the match. As a result, Hubert Hurkacz will now face 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 expressed his disappointment. He further added, “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.”