World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from the ATP Finals in Turin citing the elbow injury which had also forced him to retire during his opening match at the Paris Masters, something he has never done previously in his playing career.
In Paris the pain was unbearable so I had to quit from that game Stefanos Tsitsipas
It is now rumoured that he is considering surgery and has allegedly contacted the doctor who treated Novak Djokovic when he had a similar problem.
Should he go under the knife he could well be absent from the tour for six months which immediately suggests he wouldn’t be participating at the opening grand slam of the season, the Australian Open, in January.
The ‘likelihood’ swings to being more than a possibility considering that prior to the Turin finals and after the Paris Masters, he described the pain as ‘unbearable’ and though he took time off to give it time to ‘heal’, he couldn’t continue after just one match at the ATP’s end-of-season event.
“In Paris the pain was unbearable so I had to quit from that game; I’ve never retired in a match – it was very painful for me to let the crowd down and not play that match,” Tsitsipas said just prior to the Finals.
“But, I had to, it was for my safety, my well-being, and I don’t regret doing that.”
Tsitsipas, who failed to win his maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros 2021 by losing out to Djokovic, has targeted a major title next season but will need to be at full fitness to achieve that goal.
Meanwhile the ATP is to implement time limits to ‘comfort’ and ‘medical’ breaks’, in what could be tagged as ‘Tsitsipas’ Rule’ in reaction to his controversially long breaks (albeit within the rules as he points out); tactical breaks in some opponents’ minds!
The time limits were successfully debuted two weeks ago at the NextGen Finals in Milan and they are now to be implemented at ATP Tour matches.
Then players will only be allowed to take one three-minute toilet break during a match and only at the end of a set, and that break will be timed when the player reaches the toilet. An additional two-minutes will be allowed, if they are changing their clothes.
To ensure that players comply, penalties will be issued to those who take longer than the permitted period or extended time and will be monitored in a similar manner to time violations, namely by the umpire for taking longer than the allotted 30 seconds between points.
Medical time-outs will be allowed at the changeover or at the end of a set. Should a player be unable to play until that stage, he will forfeit the points which he would have played in order to reach that juncture.