Mystery equipment changes played part in defeat says Tsitsipas

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Last year’s French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas blamed unnamed changes to his equipment for playing a part in his four-set defeat by sensational teenager Holger Rune in the fourth round on Monday.

Greek fourth seed Tsitsipas went down 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4 against the Dane, who is making his maiden appearance in the men’s tournament, in just over three hours.

“You do have this in the back of your head, having kind of changed a little bit that equipment, playing with something that has helped you a lot last year get to a pretty good result, finals for the first time,” said Tsitsipas.

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“It kind of stays back in your head that maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”

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Tsitsipas lost last year’s final against Novak Djokovic after being two sets up.

Rune may be relatively unknown, having won his only tour title this month, but the powerful 19-year-old has shot up the rankings, jumping more than 350 places in the last 15 months to reach world number 40 at the start of the French Open.

The 23-year-old Tsitsipas, the world number four who has yet to win a Grand Slam, declined to reveal what the equipment changes were.

“You feel like there have been a few changes in terms of equipment and stuff like that,” Tsitsipas said.

“I wouldn’t put all of the blame on the equipment because it’s something that I chose for my personal progress and getting better,” he said.

Players in Paris have been using different string tensions for different playing times, especially with the introduction of an evening session being played in chilly conditions, depending on the temperature and humidity.

Tsitsipas did change rackets midway through the game on a sunny day but refused to elaborate when asked about the changes to his equipment.

“I would prefer not to talk about it, please,” said the Greek. “I don’t want to answer that.”



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