Reilly Opelka has backed Stefanos Tsitsipas as debate continues to rage over his on-court behaviour.
Tsitsipas has angered both Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev in the last two weeks, both of whom have complained about the length, and timing, of his comfort breaks.
Other ATP stars have agreed with them, with Milos Raonic among them. However, Opelka has come down firmly in the Greek’s corner, and taken a swipe at the tennis media at the same time.
Asked about the criticisms aimed at Tsitsipas, Opelka said: “Yeah, I think it’s ridiculous.
“I understand it’s getting press because tennis is lame and tennis media sucks and they’re terrible. But I think, Stefanos Tsitsipas – whatever.
“It’s hot and humid, and for the media, the press that have never stepped foot an a tennis court in their life, have never been in the environment – couldn’t last 30 minutes out in this humidity, in this heat.
“It’s physical, our sport is. My shoes are dripping, they’re leaking sweat. To change or to go after, you know, two sets – we’re drinking, we’re hydrating a lot, we have to use the bathroom.
“To change my socks, shoes, my inserts in my shoes, shorts, shirt, everything, the whole nine yards, hat – it takes five, six minutes. Then, by the time I walk to and from the court.
“You know, I don’t know Tsitsipas, I don’t know his situation. I doubt he’s getting coached. I highly doubt it.
“Today, you know, I couldn’t even take my bag in to change. I’m like – ‘Guys, my clothes and shoes are in here. You can come stand in here with me if you want.’
“I don’t like being coached on court, that stance, I don’t think we should have on-court coaching at all, but I strictly go to change because it’s hot and it’s humid.
“If people don’t understand that, then clearly they’ve never spent a day in the life of a professional athlete or come close to it.”
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