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Stefanos Tsitsipas admits he “made a mistake” calling Andrey Rublev a player with “few tools”
"He’s a very strong opponent who can play against anyone," the Greek player said of the newly crowned ATP Masters 1000 champion.
Published Apr 19, 2023
FLASHBACK: Andrey Rublev defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals round robin stage
As the red brick dust settles following a drama-filled week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, it seems at least one set of players has buried the hatchet after Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted he “made a mistake” with his comments about Andrey Rublev being a player with “few tools”.
For the source of this beef, let’s think back to the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals where Rublev ended Tsitsipas' season with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in the all-important final match of the group stage. The Greek player was clearly not pleased with the result, and a backhanded compliment to Rublev during his post-match press conference quickly earned him the ire of tennis fans on social media.
“It’s a shame. I feel like the better player,” Tsitsipas told press in Turin. “I felt like I could do more with the ball today. I felt like I could just be much more creative. I don’t even have to say that. I think it’s quite obvious.
“But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has. He was able to really take advantage of them and win today.”
This time around, after Rublev dethroned the two-time champion with his Monte Carlo victory, Tsitsipas was quick to give the Russian his flowers:
“Look, I think he’s someone that deserves the win. He’s someone that has sort of fallen under the radar for what he can do,” Tsitsipas said in a Tennis TV interview from Barcelona. “He has big weapons as a tennis player. I made a mistake in the past and said silly things after a loss that I had recently against him. My mind was completely on another planet.
“So I definitely believe he’s a very strong opponent who can play against anyone, and the good thing with Rublev is he can play on all surfaces. He is strong everywhere.”
To his credit, Rublev has already said that there was no beef between himself and Tsitsipas, with the 25-year-old choosing not to take his opponent's heat-of-the-moment comments to heart. But that hasn’t stopped the topic from bubbling up again, most recently after Daniil Medvedev referenced Tsitsipas' comments during the trophy ceremony in Dubai.
“I remember not long ago, one player said that he has ‘just few weapons’. And I was reading this and I was like, ‘How can you say this?’” Medvedev said of runner-up Rublev. “In my opinion, Andrey is one of the most skillful players on the tour. He just didn’t fully exploit his potential yet, but I’m sure he can win Grand Slams.
“Hopefully he can beat this guy who said it many, many times—and I wish this for sure.”
Rublev will be back in action on Thursday, as the No. 2 seed and defending champion begins his campaign at the ATP 250 event in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina against Juan Pablo Varillas. Tsitsipas, the No. 2 seed at the ATP 500 Barcelona Open, will take on Pedro Cachin in the second round.