Tsitsipas “Swapping balls has caused more injuries, including mine”
Stefanos Tsitsipas was ‘poisoned’ at the pre-tournament press conference in Miami.. The Greek is hoping to finally play 100 percent in Florida and says he was almost forced to play Indian Wells due to ATP rules at the Masters 1000. Even against the hard-fought used balls in this start of 2023, he rants hard, heavy, “soft” ones that don’t hold up after a few games and that, in his opinion, have led to most of the injuries that he and his colleagues have suffered in recent weeks have suffered. Tsitsipas has something for everyone, here are some passages from his statements.
“My destination in Miami? To play pain free and to be able to show something different than what I did at Indian Wells. It was a tournament where I suffered, It wasn’t easy to be on the pitch, I felt like I had to, but I really didn’t want to play. There are certain ATP rules that force you to play these big events, and I’m not the type to retire after a few games. I hope to play in good shape here and have a little more fun without thinking too much about my arm. I got injured at Indian Wells, luckily I’m feeling better now. When you play with pain in your arm you are not enjoying it at all, you are just trying to survive and move on, nothing more. You focus too much on inner things and not on outer ones. Health is the most important thing and when I feel good everything is in place and everything works. I’m creative on the pitch, my game is varied and I feel like nothing can go wrong. That’s my goal for this tournament, to play without pain and see how my arm reacts.”
Tsitsipas noted that the courses in Miami are faster and that the rebound is different compared to Indian Wells, mainly due to the different weather conditions: “These courses are a bit faster than Indian Wells. Last week the ball bounced a little higher and livelier. These are factors that we must consider. There is more moisture here and the ball bounces a little lower. I like both, you just have to get used to the different conditions.”
Here is the harsh criticism of the balls passed this year and the negative consequences for the game and the health of the players: “I think the biggest problem this year was changing balls. It was an issue that we discussed between us players. Balls should be consistent in most tournaments and I think this is even more necessary in hard court tournaments. When it does, it benefits everyone and prevents players from getting hurt. I received a lot of negative comments from other players about the balls in this first half of the season. They all think they’ve had a significant impact on their shoulders, wrists…arms in general. I really think that’s where my injury comes from“.
Tsitsipas is 24 years old, No. 3 in the ATP ranking and is in the prime of his tennis career. Younger players are pushing to rise to the top and follow in the footsteps of No. 1 Alcaraz at just 19 years old. Stefanos sees the competition as a positive factor: “The growth of the younger children? I’m happy for you. I believe and trust the Ubuntu philosophy and message: “As the rest improve and you witness the greatness around you, I myself will have the opportunity to be just as great.” I believe in this message. The fact that they are doing great things benefits me, it gives me a clearer and better idea of how I should approach my tennis.”
Almost all players, albeit with different nuances, continue to complain about too slow playing conditions and, most importantly, about the balls that nobody really likes. It is really remarkable that nothing has been done, although tennis players have been aware of the situation since the very first events and have underlined it on several occasions. After Miami, the tour will be moved to sand, things will be very different here. We’ll see which ball is adopted for the ‘Red’, but if that too is as heavy and not very durable as it was in the first three months of the Tour, the situation could become even more problematic as Clay’s nature tends to hit the ball complain and often burden with moisture.