Stefanos Tsitsipas has hit-out at officials with a sensational claim surrounding the moment he was busted in a mini-cheating scandal.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has suggested he was unfairly targeted by Australian Open tournament officials when he was caught red handed receiving coaching advice during his spiteful semi-final loss.
The Greek star fell apart in the fourth set of his 7-6 4-6 6-4 6-1 loss to bitter rival Daniil Medvedev on Friday night after he was slapped with a code violation warning for receiving coaching advice from his father Apostolos.
Tsitsipas grinned when handed the violation warning when he learned that tournament officials had conducted an operation to catch his father in the act.
He was not grinning in the moments that followed and he went on to lose all five service games that followed the code violation warning.
Tennis commentators from around the world were impressed and highly amused at the sly craft from tournament officials.
Tournament referee Wayne McKewen and veteran coach Eva Asderaki-Moore secretly positioned themselves in the mouth of the players tunnel directly under Tsitsipas’ players box.
Asderaki-Moore, who speaks Greek, only needed to hide for a few minutes before she signalled to the chair umpire that she had heard someone inside Tsitsipas’ box giving coaching advice.
Tennis great Jim Courier described the situation as a successful “sting operation” to catch Tsitsipas out. The 23-year-old is a serial offender when it comes to receiving coaching and has developed a reputation for shamelessly ignoring the rules.
It’s the main reason Medvedev lost his temper at the end of the second set and furiously demanded for the chair umpire to issue Tsitsipas with a code violation.
It took a full hour later, but Medvedev eventually got his wish.
Channel 9’s court-side commentator Sam Grothe said: “Eva Asderaki-Moore was positioned there with a couple of walkie talkies and my understanding from what I saw was that we might see Eva just positioned there the rest of this match to get a listen into the Tsitsipas coaching situation.
“We can spot her. I think we have a freeze frame. We can see where she is. She’s in the tunnel just right there in the tunnel. You can see the tan pants, the blue stop and the white mask.
“That is Eva Asderaki-Moore, the chair umpire. She’s just below, but out of vision. So basically it’s a sting operation. They’re not trying to intimidate and stop it, they’re trying to catch it. Pretty crafty.”
Tsitsipas after the match suggested it wasn’t fair that he was targeted and Medvedev was not.
“I’m used to it. They’ve been targeting me already a long time,” he said in his press conference.
“I’ve gotten a few in the past and umpires are always paying attention to my box, never paying attention to the opponent’s box. I’ve been a victim of that for a long time.”
Medvedev did not see it that way early in the match.
The Russian star called the umpire a “little cat” for failing to take action against Tsitsipas.
“You understand Greek? You understand Greek? Next time it should be a code violation,” he said, complaining about why Tsitsipas had not been given a code violation.
“If you don’t, you are, how can I call it, a small cat. Repeat the answer to my question. Will you answer my question?”
Medevedev’s first tirade was also an act of verbal abuse that was not punished by the chair umpire.
“Are you mad? Are you mad? His father can coach every point,” he said in a tirade caught on TV cameras.
“Are you stupid? His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point? Answer my question. Will you answer my question. Will you answer my question? Can you answer my question? Can you answer my question, please? Can his father talk every point?”
He went on to say to the umpire: “Oh my god. Oh my god, you are so bad, man. How can you be so bad in semi-final your answer? Look at me. I’m talking to you!”.