Stefanos Tsitsipas says he would like to apologize to Andrey Rublev for criticizing his game following their recent encounter at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 24-year-old from Greece fell to Rublev in three sets, costing him a spot in the semifinals, and created a stir by commenting that the world No. 8 had “managed to prevail with the few tools he has” an apparent shot at the lack of variety in his opponent’s play.
But speaking to ArabNews.com prior to his upcoming participation in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, Tsitsipas reflected that it was not the right way to react to the defeat.
“What I said in that press conference against Rublev was very unfair towards him and not correct,” he said. “I do regret saying that, yes. It was not very good for me. I was extremely hurt that I wasn’t able to go all the way at the ATP Finals, it hurt me a lot.”
Tsitsipas also claimed he had wanted to motivate Rublev to play Casper Ruud in their semifinal, since a win by the Russian would help him keep the No. 3 position in the rankings.
“I really wanted Andrey to win the next match and my approach was to add fuel to the fire a little bit, to make him want to be more hungry and more concentrated on his next match,” Tsitsipas added. “I think that was wrong to do, because it felt like, I don’t know, he wasn’t able to perform, I saw the match, I don’t think he performed as good as I would have expected him to perform.” “Andrey is an excellent player,” said Tsitsipas, adding that Rublev has an “array of weapons” on court. “He can hit the ball really hard. He’s sort of like the Marat Safin of the new generation. I don’t think he’s limited in his game. “I enjoy being around him. He’s extremely friendly and likes to make fun of himself.”
The pair have played 10 times since 2019, and are now even in their career meetings on the ATP Tour.
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