Tsitsipas has nothing to prove in strong message to doubters after coach U-turn

Stefanos Tsitsipas has fired back at his doubters after going 3-5 in tour matches since winning the Los Cabos Open. The world No 7 has been struggling for form of late and recently made a U-turn by rehiring his father as his head coach, having previously replaced him with Mark Philippoussis. Tsitsipas claimed he didn’t have to prove anything as he shut down suggestions that he wasn’t as dedicated to his tennis anymore.

Tsitsipas has experienced a mixed season, starting on a high when he reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. The Greek star was one match win away from his first Major title and the world No 1 ranking but fell to Novak Djokovic. He waited until August to win his first title of the year, lifting the trophy in Los Cabos.

Since then, the 25-year-old has been unable to win back-to-back matches at any tournament, suffering early exits in Canada, Cincinnati, the US Open, Beijing and Shanghai. He now enters the European Open as the top seed, having recently rehired his father Apostolos to his coaching team.

Ahead of his opening match in Antwerp, Tsitsipas sent a strong message to those who had been doubting him amid his struggles for form. “People who claim that I am no longer focused on tennis, I train more than I ever did in my career,” the 10-time title winner said.

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“I don’t want to prove anything to anyone, except to myself, to prove to myself that I am capable of regaining my level. I believe in it.” Tsitsipas will be bidding to string together some victories in the singles when he begins his campaign against either Dominic Stricker or Botic van de Zandschulp after receiving a bye into the second round.

There has been a lot of talk about Tsitsipas’ life off the court this season, as he started dating fellow tennis star Paula Badosa. The pair went public on Spotify when they created a shared playlist and changed their individual profile photos to a snap of them together. They later launched a joint Instagram account @tsitsidosa.

It has led some to question whether Tsitsipas’ relationship is getting in the way of his tennis or taking his focus away from the sport. But the 25-year-old has now addressed those claims directly. His coaching situation has also caught attention this year as Tsitsipas started working with Philippoussis at the start of the season before they split in May.

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He then brought the retired Australian tennis star back to his camp at the start of August and announced that his father would be taking a step back after being part of the team for his whole career. But Tsitsipas changed his mind earlier this month and announced that Apostolos was back as his sole coach ahead of the recent Shanghai Masters.

“He’s here to stay,” Tsitsipas told Tennis TV. “I have no intention of ever changing my dad or pushing him away. People are always going to try and create rumours or try and destroy what you have with someone that is really close to you in any way or form. He’s someone that cannot be excluded.”

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