Stefanos Tsitsipas lashes out over 'ridiculous' farce after loss at Miami Open

The World No.3 has been nursing a shoulder injury, and took a shot at the ATP over a niche rule he says forced him to enter.

Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken aim at an ATP rule he says would have seen him stripped or ranking points if he didn't enter the Miami Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The ATP has copped an extraordinary broadside from World No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, after the Greek star was bundled out of the Miami Open in the round of 16. Karen Khachanov moved through to the quarter-finals at Tsitsipas' expense, his first tennis win over the 24-year-old.

The 7-6, 6-4 result was far from Tsitsipas' biggest frustration after the match however. He revealed after the game that he had only entered the tournament in order to avoid a potential ranking points penalty his team feared would be imposed by the ATP.

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According to ATP rules, those classes as 'commitment' players - those ranked within the top 30, barring limited exceptions - must enter all Masters-grade tournaments, face for injury or other exceptional circumstances. Having battled poor form and a nagging shoulder injury since his memorable run to the Australian Open final in January, Tsitsipas felt he had little choice but to enter or drop in the rankings.

Only players who are either aged above 30, have played 600 or more ATP matches or who have been on the tour circuit for 12 or more years can lessen their tournament load, a rule described as 'ridiculous and dangerous' by tennis commentator Bastien Fachan Tsitsipas doesn't fit into any of those categories, but nevertheless claimed he would have been stripped of points had he not entered.

He had claimed earlier in the Miami Open after defeating Christian Garin that he was only attending Miami to preserve his points total. “There’s an ATP rule if you don’t play in a Masters 1000, they take away your best 1000 result of last year,” Tsitsipas said.

“You can’t add points. I had to play. You also get fined. It’s frustrating to have to think about this on top of your injury.”

Tsitsipas frustrated at Miami Open after Karen Khachanov exit

Tsitsipas, who got a first-round bye and second-round walkover, beat Cristian Garin in his Miami opener on Monday but never found his best level against Khachanov, who controlled the match by winning almost 90 per cent of his first-serve points. "They say third time is a charm, but for me it took seven times, so I'm super happy," said Khachanov, who lost to Tsitsipas in the semi-finals of this year's Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz remains on course to complete the 'Sunshine Double' with a straight-sets wins at the Miami Open over Tommy Paul. Spain's world No.1 deployed his dynamic game to tame Paul 6-4 6-4 and set up a quarter-final against another American Taylor Fritz, who eased past Denmark's Holger Rune 6-3 6-4.

Karen Khachanov notched his first ATP win against Stefanos Tsitsipas after seven attempts. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Karen Khachanov notched his first ATP win against Stefanos Tsitsipas after seven attempts. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Alcaraz showcased his sensational speed and reflexes to reach a drop shot for love-30 and broke Paul two points later for a 3-2 advantage. An acrobatic overhead winner gave Paul a break point at 5-4 but Alcaraz recovered, unleashing a perfectly disguised drop shot of his own to claim the first set.

Paul fell behind an early break again in the second set on a missed forehand for 2-1. The American, who came from behind to beat the Spanish star in their only previous meeting at last year's Rogers Cup, then fended off a match point while serving at 5-3.

But there would be no escape from Alcaraz, the top-seeded teenager letting out a mighty roar when Paul's forehand landed out of bounds to end the contest.

With AAP

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