Stefanos Tsitsipas, the current world number 4 professional tennis player, advanced to the semifinal round of the australian open on Tuesday after defeating Jiri Lehecka in their quarterfinal match, but the outcome of that match could have been very different due to an outburst Tsitsipas had in reaction to a loose ball.
in the third set and leading by two sets, Tsitsipas missed a return during a brief swing on Lehecka’s serve.
Then, out of frustration, Tsitsipas slams the ball against the wall just as a ball boy passes by to retrieve the ball.
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«Tsitsipas was just very lucky,» the announcers said of the outburst. «He swings in anger and almost hits the ball boy and if he does, he shakes hands with a loser in this game.»
The ATP rules are strict about the abuse of the ball during matches. In 2020, Novak Djokovic he was disqualified from the US Open after hitting a ball that struck a linesman. As a result, the chair umpire ruled that he had breached the match.
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Tsitsipas said during a press conference after the round that he regrets hitting the ball that way, but from his point of view, the ball boy was not close enough to be hit.
«I saw the ball boy when the ball came back, you know, I’m a professional tennis player. I wasn’t aiming at the ball boy, obviously. I saw the wall. He just went back to the wall. The ball boy was, well, in my eyes, pretty far away from my».
«I really would have had to miss to hit that ballboy kid.»
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He continued: «Of course, it’s not good to even hit him against the wall. Personally, I don’t think I hit him too hard. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. What I did, I did.» I’m definitely not happy about it and shouldn’t have, but it was part of the moment. My ball fell short, there was a bit of frustration there, but you know things happen.»
Tsitsipas will play Karen Khachanov of Russia in the semifinals on Thursday.