Andy Murray defends Stefanos Tsitsipas over ‘bizarre’ accusation of ‘unfair behaviour’
Andy Murray has defended Stefanos Tsitsipas after Lacoste CEO Thierry Guibert accused the Greek star of “unfair behaviour” following his retirement at the 2023 ATP Finals.
The three-time Grand Slam champion described Guibert’s claim as “bizarre” and asserted that “getting injured is part of the sport” in support of Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas retired after just three games in his second round-robin match against Holger Rune in Turin on Tuesday afternoon, with the Dane leading 2-1.
The 25-year-old called the ATP physio during the changeover after noticeably struggling with his movement, and retired after deciding he could not continue.
The retirement led to boos from the Italian crowd, and the world No 6 has come under fire from tennis pundits and fans for deciding to play the match given his physical condition.
Jannik Sinner defeated Rune in three sets in the final match in the Green Group at the ATP Finals on Thursday, ensuring he and Novak Djokovic progressed to the semi-finals.
Djokovic had defeated Tsitsipas’ replacement – Hubert Hurkacz – in three sets, but his qualification hopes were complicated by the fact Tsitsipas’ early retirement against Rune counted as a straight-set win for the Dane.
In a post shared on Twitter / X, Guibert lauded Sinner after his win over Rune – which helped Lacoste ambassador Djokovic advance in Turin – while aiming a dig at Tsitsipas.
“Hats off to Jannik Sinner for his win tonight. Despite the unfair behaviour of Tsitsipas, he showed to everyone why he is a future champ and an authentic guy,” wrote Guibert.
World No 42 Murray responded in a tweet quoting Guibert’s post and expressed his bemusement at the Frenchman’s accusation given his role, while defending Tsistipas.
“Bizarre post from a CEO of a sports brand🤷♂️ getting injured is part of sport and isn’t ‘unfair behaviour’ 👎”, wrote the 36-year-old Brit.
Bizarre post from a CEO of a sports brand🤷♂️ getting injured is part of sport and isnt ‘unfair behaviour’ 👎 https://t.co/cUG2WYnLCH
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) November 17, 2023
Murray’s support of Tsitsipas is somewhat surprising, given he described the Greek’s lengthy bathroom break during the pair’s 2021 US Open clash as “cheating.”
In a press conference following his withdrawal, Tsitsipas expressed his disappointment and explained why he had decided to play despite his back injury.
“My apologies to all the fans and the crowd that came to support me today and watch the match. Really, I’m gutted that I wasn’t able to finish the match and it’s a shame also not to give that spot to someone else, to at least try to do something with it,” said the world No 6.
“My doctor and the countless visits that I had in the last few days suggested that I play and gave me the green light to go and try it for myself. Unfortunately, I felt terrible on the court.
“I did what I could do in the best possible way to be ready for this match but it didn’t work out for me. I hate retiring from matches, I’m not the kind of person that likes leaving mid-match, and it kills me not to be able to finish this tournament.
“The pain was very big. I’ve gone though pain during matches in the past and I endured pain, but this was clearly too much to handle and I had to take the difficult decision to do what I did.
“I actually felt it in the warmup of my serve, I felt very irritated, and felt lots of pain hitting me on my back and I kind of knew at that time that I might not be able to go all the way.”
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