WATCH: The moment Stefanos Tsitsipas' Australian Open campaign almost ended in a moment of frustration


Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas sailed through to his fourth Australian Open semifinal in five years on Tuesday, though a moment of frustration put his bid for a maiden major title and the No. 1 ranking at risk.

It was a strange turn of events, given Tsitsipas held a two-set lead over Jiri Lehecka and was two games away from closing out the match when the lapse in judgment occurred.

Serving at 3-4, 15-30, in the third set, the Czech executed a serve +1 by ripping an inside-in forehand winner. Tsitsipas, perhaps upset that his 0-30 window to break had gone away, hit the ball when it rebounded off the back of the court.

The problem? When he made contact, the ball traveled in the direction of a moving ball boy.

Had it hit the kid, Tsitsipas would have all but been defaulted—a situation faced by Novak Djokovic at the 2020 US Open, when he unintentionally nailed a linesperson in the neck after taking a ball out of his pocket.

The close call in question.

Calling the match, Jim Courier said on air, “Tsitsipas just got really lucky. He swings at anger and it nearly hits the ball kid. And if it does, he’s shaking hands a loser in this match. You cannot do that. You have to be careful. That was dangerous.”

Tsitsipas didn't think it was close from his perspective.

“I saw the ball kid when the ball came back. I'm a professional tennis player. I was not aiming for the ball kid obviously,” he said in press when asked about it. “I saw the wall, just went back towards the wall. The ball kid, in my eyes, was pretty far away from me. Would have really had to miss to hit that ball kid.

“What I did, definitely I'm not happy about that. I shouldn't have done it. But it was part of the moment. My ball fell short.”


This is hardly the first time the Greek has lost his cool on court, nor is it the first instance he’s done so in this manner.

Who could forget when Tsitsipas launched a ball into the Centre Court crowd after dropping the second set of his third-round match to Nick Kyrgios last summer, causing the Australian to call for his immediate default? That didn’t happen and their feud, which included Kyrgios being pegged at the net during his eventual victory, carried over into in the press room where the two traded alternative forms of shots.

Though he ultimately failed to break Lehecka, Tsitsipas was successful in doing so the next time around to wrap up a 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory.

The world No. 4 will face Karen Khachanov in the last four as he seeks to reach his first major final since the 2021 French Open.