Tsitsipas at the 2021 French Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas battled back from a set and a break down to defeat Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday. The Greek was affected by a severe cold throughout the match, yet managed to dig deep and grind out a win.
Aside from some fabulous shotmaking, the match also featured plenty of drama, as Fognini complained to the chair umpire that the Greek was receiving coaching from his father.
However, the chair umpire stated that Apostolos Tsitsipas was not coaching his son, but simply cheering him on. Later, when Fognini received a time violation warning from the umpire, the Italian remarked that it was “two against one”.
Following the match, Fognini also had a tense exchange at the next with Tsitsipas, accusing him of getting coached. The 23-year-old replied that it was impossible for him to hear anything from his box as he was standing so far away.
In his post-match interview, Tsitsipas, who was still coughing badly, said he didn’t anticipate making such a comeback in the match. The 23-year-old revealed that he maintained a positive attitude and stayed patient to figure out a way to play well during tough moments and turn the tide.
“Great comeback. I honestly didn’t see it coming. Great comeback. I don’t know what happened. I really don’t,” Tsitsipas said. “I just really wanted to get back in the match and it happened somehow and from there I just took it point by point and it worked out pretty well.”You know…good mindset and also a bit of patience helped as well. You know…find solutions in those difficult moments where he really felt like he had the momentum.”
A look at Stefanos Tsitsipas’ recent controversies
This isn’t the first time that Stefanos Tsitsipas has faced accusations of receiving illegal coaching. Alexander Zverev had alleged that the Greek received coaching from his father during his lengthy bathroom break at the Cincinnati Masters.
Tsitsipas’ toilet breaks then became a topic of conversation at the US Open, where Andy Murray took issue with the Greek’s long visit to the bathroom during their US Open first-round encounter. Murray slammed the Greek for his supposed gamesmanship and said that he had lost all respect for the 23-year-old.
Tsitsipas has continued to categorically deny accusations of gamesmanship and illegal coaching whenever they have popped up. The Greek earlier this year started a debate about on-coart coaching, when he suggested that the practice should be allowed during matches.