Stefanos Tsitsipas just booked his ticket to the semifinals of the Australian Open, but his most recent match nearly ended tragically. The tennis star had a miniature outburst that could’ve easily led to a disqualification.
After letting a shot get by him in his third set, Tsitsipas swatted the ball back towards the stadium wall in frustration. That volley nearly smacked a kid trying to retrieve a tennis ball.
Tsitsipas is the third ranked player in the world, and he just got done taking down opponent Jiri Lehecka in straight sets. He’s now one win away from a finals appearance.
But in that final set, he narrowly avoided a DQ. Take a look.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is cruising, but he risked a default at 4-3 in the third set as he came this close to hitting a ball kid with a ball out of frustration… pic.twitter.com/OIbpX44pQ3
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) January 24, 2023
“Stefanos Tsitsipas just got really lucky,” the announcer says. “He swings in anger, and it nearly hits the ball kid. If it does, he’s shaking hands a loser in this match. You cannot do that. You have to be careful. That was dangerous.”
ATP has strict rules on ball abuse during matches, and luckily for Tsitsipas, they didn’t have to be enforced on Tuesday.
Still, the tennis player responded to the incident after the match.
“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. I saw the wall… The ball kid, in my eyes, was pretty far away from me. Would’ve really had to miss to hit the ball kid.
“Of course, it’s not nice even to hit it back towards the wall. I personally don’t think I hit it too hard, but it doesn’t matter… What I did, I’m definitely not happy about it. I shouldn’t have done it. But it was part of the moment.”
The frustration didn’t come back to bite Stefanos Tsitsipas as he’d compete the set for a sweep. He’ll now await a match with Karen Khachanov in the semifinals.