Stefanos Tsitsipas has already concluded his time at the U.S. Open in a bizarre, brief run.
In the first round, the No. 8-ranked player faced Andrey Rublev, who had just beaten Roger Federer in Cincinnati and made the quarterfinals here two years ago. They’re both 21, and, despite Rublev’s long injury layoff, two of the best young players going. It was an appealing duel.
Tsitsipas and Rublev played at absurdly high level through the second and third sets, which both ended in tiebreaks. Tsitsipas tends to maintain a steady banter with his dad/coach, Apostolos, and during this span, umpire Damien Dumusois hit the player with a code violation for coaching. (Patrick Mouratoglou, Tsitsipas’s consultant and the man responsible for the most famous coaching violation ever, was sitting in the same box.)
In the fourth set, Tsitsipas began to cramp, which caused long delays between points. This got him a time violation warning from the umpire. Though visibly hobbled, Tsitsipas hung in the match, shortening points with huge cuts, an impressive stretch of triage. During the changeover at 4-3, Tsitsipas wanted some time to change. Dumusois believed he had exceeded the time limit. That prompted this incredible meltdown from Stefanos:
For some reason, you have something against me, I don’t know what—because you’re French probably. And you’re all weirdos. You’re all weirdos. Give me warning, I don’t care. Give me warning, give me warning, yeah, give me warning, I don’t care. Give me warning!
Tsitsipas did earn his second time violation, which came with a point penalty. He would lose the match 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5. This marks his second-straight first-round loss at a major, an odd bit of trivia for a young player who’s had the sixth-best season on tour. Tsitsipas can take solace in his new accomplishment: He is presumably the first pro tennis player to use the word “weirdos” while abusing an umpire.