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Tsitsipas Sums Up Zverev Relationship


Rome hosts a continuing clay-court tradition tomorrow.

Olympic gold-medal champion Alexander Zverev squares off against Stefanos Tsitsipas in a third straight Masters 1000 clay-court semifinal with a shot for the final on the line.

Watch: Shapovalov Screams At Fans "Shut The F--k Up!"

Last week, reigning Madrid champion Zverev topped Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-3, 2-6 to reach the Madrid final where he fell to Carlos Alcaraz. That match came a couple of weeks after Tsitsipas swept Zverev 6-4, 6-2 en route to his second straight Monte-Carlo crown.

Tennis Express

Two of tennis top young stars sharing a growing rivalry and have not been shy revealing the bad blood between them.




After Zverev topped Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) to reach the Cincinnati final last August he ripped the Greek’s habit of taking a bathroom break. Zverev asserted Tsitsipas' absences are more than gamesmanship: the Cincinnati champion charges the Greek with receiving direct coaching from his dad, Apostolos, who was seen on camera texting when his son left the court in Cincinnati.

"He's gone for 10-plus minutes. His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out, and all of a sudden his tactic completely changed," Zverev said. "It's not just me but everybody saw it. The whole game plan changes.”

Asked to assess his relationship with Zverev after he beat home hero Jannik Sinner in Rome today, Tsitsipas summed it up in a word: respect.

"I don't know if I've shown it or not, but I do have respect for what he's achieved," Tsitsipas said of Zverev.

The fourth-seeded Greek said the second-seeded German brings out the best in him.

"He's a player that challenges me when I'm out on the court," Tsitsipas said of Zverev. "He is difficult to beat. He has a lot of experience on the tour, much earlier than when I started playing here. For me, I have respect for him. I don't know if I've shown it or not, but I do have respect for what he has achieved in the sport so far.

"Every time I go out there to play him, I really want to bring out the best out of my game and really show what I'm capable of in terms of my tennis, handling the difficult situations because he can really, if he's on a good day, not give you a lot of errors."

Photo credit: Getty

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