Stefanos Tsitsipas blames ATP Tour ball changes for injury, calls for rule review

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates scoring during the men's singles quarterfinal against Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic at Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the latest player to raise his concerns over the choice of balls for ATP Tour events this season.

Tsitsipas raised his concerns after Daniil Medvedev’s repeated complaints about ‘fluffy’ balls.

After his run to the Australian Open final, his form and fitness have dropped of a cliff, and he has won just one of his three matches.

There have been suggestions that the balls also played a role in the wrist injuries suffered by Holger Rune and Sebastian Korda although neither player has registered any sort of public gripe about the changes to the official balls.

The Greek confirmed that the balls were a subject of discussion among payers with quite a few now blaming the choice for injuries.

“I think the biggest issue this year was the change in balls and that was an issue that has been discussed among the players,”  Stefanos Tsitsipas said during media day at the Miami Open, according to SDNA.

“Balls need to stay the same in most tournaments and especially on hard surfaces. This benefits us all and protects players from injury.’

“I have had comments from other players about the balls at the beginning of the year and that they had a significant impact on the shoulders, wrists, and arm in general. I think that’s where my injury comes from.”

Tsitsipas also felt that he was forced to play at Indian Wells by ATP regulations which make the tournament mandatory.

The Greek star feels that the ATP should review these rules, which aren’t in the best interests of player health.

“I hope to play (in Miami) without pain and be able to get on the court and show something different than what I did in Indian Wells,” said Tsitsipas.

“It was a tournament where I suffered a lot, it was not easy to be on the court and somehow I was forced to do it. Actually, I didn’t want to do it. There are certain ATP rules that force you to play these big events and I’m not a player who likes to retire or give up after a few games.’

“Hopefully I can get on the court here and enjoy it a little more, have a little fun and not think too much about my hand. Fortunately, I feel better now.”

As one of 32 seeds, Tsitsipas enjoys a bye into the second round of the Miami Open, where he will face either French journeyman Richard Gasquet or Australia’s Chris O’Connell.

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