Stefanos Tsitsipas announces sad withdrawal after family tragedy

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here with Novak Djokovic after the French Open final.
Stefanos Tsitsipas learned of his grandmother's death just minutes before the French Open final. Image: Getty

Stefanos Tsitsipas has announced his withdrawal from the Wimbledon warm-up event in Halle after the death of his grandmother before the French Open final.

Tsitsipas learned of the tragedy just minutes before the Roland Garros final against Novak Djokovic on Sunday, which he lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 3-6 2-6 4-6 in a titanic battle.

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The Greek star was supposed to play in Halle this week in the lead-up to Wimbledon, however he has since withdrawn.

"He will be replaced by lucky loser Yannick Hanfmann in the singles draw," the ATP said.

Tsitsipas had accepted a wildcard into the ATP 500 grass-court event in Germany and was also scheduled to play doubles with his younger brother Petros.

The 22-year-old revealed in an emotional social media post on Monday that he had learned of the death of his paternal grandmother only five minutes before going out onto court for the French Open final.

"Five minutes before entering the court my very beloved grandmother lost her battle for life," Tsitsipas wrote on Instagram.

"A wise woman whose faith in life, and willingness to give and provide can't be compared to any other human being that I have ever met.

"It's important to have more people like her in this world. Because people like her make you come alive. They make you dream."

Tsitsipas also put Sunday's defeat in perspective.

"Life isn't about winning or losing. It's about enjoying every single moment in life whether that's alone or with others," he wrote.

"(It's about) living a meaningful life without misery and abjection. Lifting trophies and celebrating wins is something, but not everything."

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Roger Federer returns to winner's circle in Halle

Meanwhile, Roger Federer has made a winning start to the grass-court season in Halle.

The 39-year-old was given a fight by 90th-ranked Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka on Monday before the 10-time champion secured a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory in 1 hour and 35 minutes.

The 20-time grand slam champion hadn't played on grass since losing an epic 2019 Wimbledon final in five sets to Djokovic during in which he wasted championship points.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here after losing the French Open final to Novak Djokovic.
Stefanos Tsitsipas looks on after losing the French Open final to Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images)

He underwent double knee surgery last year and came to Halle having withdrawn ahead of his French Open fourth-round match last week because his main priority is Wimbledon which starts in a fortnight.

"I think as the match went on I started to create more opportunities and started to also calm my nerves a bit," Federer said on court after Monday's win.

"I'm very happy and excited that I was able to get through the first one."

Federer had no problems moving round the court and when the first set went to a tie-breaker, he raced into a 6-1 lead then converted his fourth set point.

Federer broke Ivashka's serve to lead 6-5 in the second, converting his fourth match point to book his place in the second round.

with agencies

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