Toilet breaks, vaccine, Medvedev’s “one-dimensional” game: 5 things we learnt from Tsitsipas’ interview on Greek TV
Stefanos Tsitsipas appeared in an interview with Greek television on Monday where the world No 3 defended his use of toilet breaks and assured everyone that he will be vaccinated by the end of the year
Stefanos Tsitsipas has been in the news a lot in 2021. While his on-court results brought him into the spotlight in the first six months of the year thanks to reaching his first Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros. the semi-finals at the Australian Open and winning the Monte-Carlo Masters, the 23-year-old has been in the news for other reasons in recent weeks.
The Greek has sparked a major controversy for the length of his “toilet breaks” in New York and his public stance on the Covid-19 vaccination recently.
Tsitsipas discussed these topics and more as he appeared on the morning show To Proino on Greek television, a show hosted by Giorgios Laigkas and broadcast on Ant1. The show provided Tsitsipas an opportunity to clarify his stance on these issues and here are some of the key quotes from the interview.
1- “I am a person that likes to take his time. It takes me a lot of time – not as much as women, though.”
The joke may not have been in excellent taste, but the message that Tsitsipas wanted to convey is that his now-famous “toilet breaks”, whose duration has at times exceeded seven minutes during the US Open, are part of his routine and that it should not be seen as a ploy to get the opponent out of his match. “When I just won the set 6-0 and I take a toilet break, I don’t think it’s very good for me. And I’ve done that too, so it’s really not malicious.”
While waiting for the ATP to regulate the time allowed for “toilet breaks”, which could be the case as early as 2022, Tsitsipas takes the time he needs away from the court to change his attire and get his thoughts about the match back on track. And he assures fans, during the interview, that he does not communicate with his father during these toilet breaks. “In my dreams, yes,” he replied to the question of whether he was speaking with Apostolos Tsitsipas in the locker room.
2- “I have never promoted vaccination and I must say that I have never been against vaccination.”
In mid-August, during the Cincinnati Masters, Tsitsipas explained that he was in no hurry to get vaccinated against Covid-19. “I’m not against it, I just don’t see any reason for anyone in my age category to be vaccinated. I want to see a better version of the vaccine, which will give more advantages than disadvantages”.
Giannis Economou, a spokesperson for the Greek government, did not appreciate this: “Those who are a role model for wider audiences should be doubly cautious in expressing these kinds of points of view.”
Tsitsipas clarified his stance on the vaccination during his interview to To Proino. “I support anybody who wants to get vaccinated. I am not a doctor, I am a tennis player. My opinion might not be the best, if it has to do with medical issues. I am better when the questions are about tennis.”
The world No 3 also confirmed that he will be vaccinated by the end of the year so that he can resume a social life as normal as possible, on and off the circuit, as he then clarified.
3- “I wouldn’t say Medvedev’s game is boring, I would say it’s one-dimensional.”
Winning the US Open by outclassing Novak Djokovic in the final, Daniil Medvedev became the first member of the players born in 1996 or later to win a Grand Slam title. Tsitsipas did not necessarily see that coming, considering the Russian’s unorthodox game.
“”Medvedev is very consistent, a very tough opponent. It surprises me that with that kind of tennis he manages to achieve what he has achieved.”
Tsitsipas nevertheless pays tribute to the world No 2, whom he calls the “best player at the moment”.
“He proved it with his results (Editor’s note – Medvedev also won the ATP Masters 1000 in Toronto).”
4- “I consider myself as one of the best, but I also have to prove it on court.”
Leading the tour in most number of ATP victories in 2021, with 50 wins over the calendar year (followed by 47 for Medvedev and 44 for Djokovic), Tsitsipas is experiencing a more mixed second half of the season as compared to the first. He has not played a final since his French Open loss to Djokovic and has had early exits at Wimbledon (first round), the Olympics (third round) and the US Open (third round). The Greek nevertheless still considers himself at the level of his higher-ranked peers. “They’re not better, but during that time they played better.” As an awareness that he must do more to shine on surfaces other than clay, where he won two titles (Monte-Carlo, Lyon) and played two finals (Barcelona, Roland-Garros) this year.
5- “There is no better coach than my father.”
One topic that constantly comes up when it comes to Stefanos Tsitsipas is the debate around his father – Apostolos Tsitsipas, who is also his coach. Apostolos is a self-taught coach without experience as a professional player or real training as a tennis coach.
Tsitsipas remains convinced that his father is the best coach for him. “I’m 100% sure.” An unequivocal validation that suggests that the father-son coaching relationship still has a bright future in the time to come.