Stefanos Tsitsipas claims he “had to play” at the Indian Wells Open despite struggling with an injury as ATP rules make it very difficult for players not to compete at ATP Masters 1000 events.
The Greek withdrew from the Mexican Open in February due to a shoulder injury he sustained at the Australian Open and he was far from 100% for his opening match at the Indian Wells Open a fortnight ago.
He went down in three sets against Jordan Thompson, but he was in better shape during his third-round clash against Cristian Garin at the Miami Open this week as he won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 for his first win since the round of 16 at the Rotterdam Open in mid-February.
Following his victory the second seed revealed why battled through the pain in California.
There is a rule in place in ATP that states that if you don’t play any Masters 1000, there are certain penalties such as, they take away your best Masters 1000 performance of last year and you can’t add points to that, which is pretty bad if you think about it,” he said.
“I couldn’t pull out, I had to play. Also, you get penalised and fined on top of that. It’s frustrating to have something like this on top of your injury and having to think about something like this too.
“So, there were a number of reasons why I decided to play, including the fans in Indian Wells which I really love, and the energy there is spectacular when you step out on the court.
“But let’s put that on the side, ATP definitely has to reconsider those rules and sit down with the players and come up with something a little more logical. Obviously I don’t think they would like players to be playing while being injured and it would definitely also help with the level of tennis that is being played in these big events.”
ATP regulations state that players ranked in the top 30 are required to in play all Masters-grade events unless they are injured and those who skip events face penalties “for not being in good standing” with the Tour.
Players over the age of 30, those who have been on the Tour for 12 years or more, or those with more than 600 top-level matches do have a reduction in the number of Masters-level tournaments that they need to play.
Tsitsipas’ progress was halted on Tuesday as he lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 against 14th seed Karen Khachanov in the fourth round.