Stefanos Tsitsipas in coaching controversy at BNP Paribas Open
As one of the most respected names on the ATP circuit at the moment, Stefanos Tsitsipas has many followers. He is a highly-regarded tennis pro, and looks set to enjoy a trophy-laden career as he becomes Greece’s finest sporting export alongisde Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, the Greek is known for his tempestuous nature and his fiery temperament – attributes which have landed him in hot water on more than a few occasions.
The latest controversy for the tennis star came at the BNP Paribas Open in a match against Fabio Fognini. There was much controversy around the match as Tsitsipas was accused by his opponent of being given in-match coaching. As a major no-no in professional tennis, this has become a major talking point. Many top players have been seen getting coaching in the past, despite the rules against such help, and it has become a major problem for some players.
While some do not seem to mind the coaching aspect, others take it very seriously. Clearly, Fognini is one in the latter camp as his explosive accusation came amid the fallout of a pulsating match-up between two excellent tennis players.
The World No. 3 was accused of being coached through the game by his team. Fognini, a proven talent in his own right, was infuriated by the potential coaching display. This is the second controversy in recent times for Tsitsipas, who was embroiled in a row with British great Andy Murray over a toilet break incident at the US Open.
Indeed, this is not the first time he has ben accused of going for a coaching session mid-match. After taking his bag with him for a toilet break in a match again Alexander Zverev, the German accused Tsitsipas of receiving texts from coaching staff while he was away. His father and coach, Apostolos, was seen on his phone while Tsitsipas was away at the toilet.
What caused the controversy with Fabio Fognini?
During the match-up with Fognini, the Italian was heard complaining that he was “playing two against one” to the umpire during the match-up. However, the umpire disagreed, suggesting that Tsitsipas’s father was merely encouraging the player to come through a top spell in the match.
Fognini also had words with Tsitsipas at the end of the match, with the 23-year-old quick to note to him during the handshakes that he was not talking to his father. However, Fognini was having none of it, telling Tsitsipas that “you know better than me” before walking away cleasrly unhappy.
It was a hugely impressive comeback for the Greek, which will definitely play a role as to why Fognini is so frustrated. Having seen the game slip from his grasp, the injustice of having a potential coaching aid at the side of the match is something that would irritate all but the most placid of coaches.
For that reason, then, expect this to become a common talking point as the Tsitsipas family continue to interact with one another during matches.