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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, November 3, 2021

 
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Stefanos Tsitsipas retired from his Rolex Paris Masters opener due to a right arm injury he sustained while trailing lucky loser Alexei Popyrin 2-4.

Photo credit: ©Nicolas Gouhier/FFT/Rolex Paris Masters Facebook

Stefanos Tsitsipas' Paris opener came to a painfully premature end.

The third-seeded Tsitsipas suffered a right elbow injury that forced him to pull the plug in his Rolex Paris Masters opener while trailing lucky loser Alexei Popyrin 2-4.

More: Fritz Fights off Rublev in Paris Upset Day

Tsitsipas, who has won an ATP-best 55 matches and was playing his 73rd match of the year, said he's been suffering the issue for a "quite a while" and retired partly to protect his health ahead of this month's ATP Finals in Turin.

"I haven't retired once in my life, and it was something that I had to do today. I have been feeling also I'm trying to be precautious for the next tournaments, which is the most important one for me," Tsitsipas told the media in Paris. "My arm has been... I have had an issue there for quite a while now.

"It has gotten bigger in the last couple of weeks, so I'm just trying to protect it. I felt the pain playing in the match, and I just don't want for it to get worse than it is now."




Afterward, Tsitsipas declined to identify the exact injury saying "sorry, but I prefer not to share these kinds of details."

Roland Garros runner-up Tsitsipas, who lost his doubles opener yesterday, looked to be in discomfort in the early stages of today's match.

The 71st-ranked Popyrin won 12 of 14 points on his serve and pressured Tsitsipas with his return game.

Tennis Express

Serving at 2-3, Tsitsipas shanked a forehand to drop serve then immediately informed the chair umpire he was near retirement and needed to see the trainer, which prompted some jeers from fans.

After a brief consultation with the trainer, Tsitsipas walked over to shake Popyrin's hand and officially retired 27 minutes into the match. Tsitsipas is hopeful treatment and rest will help him recover from the arm issue for the ATP Finals.

"I know how to treat it, but playing for every day, going out on the court practicing doesn't make it better," Tsitsipas said. "It's not easy to just stop, especially when you have important tournaments like this one here that I really want to do well and play well. It hurts a lot not to be able to play at the level that I'm expected to play, and I'm expecting myself to play.

"I'm going to have treatments. I'm going to try and have the best people treat me, and give me the best advice. Anything possible to recover and be 100% again."

On a day of upsets in Paris, Tsitsipas joins fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev, ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime and 12th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in exiting the field.

Meanwhile, 2017 Roland Garros junior finalist Popyrin moves on to an unlikely round of 16 clash vs. fellow Aussie James Duckworth, who drilled 11 aces defeating lucky loser Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The lanky Popyrin, who dropped just three games dismissing compatriot Alex de Minaur in his opener, is the second lucky loser into the last 16 along with Germany left-hander Dominik Koepfer, who fought off seven match points stunning Andy Murray in the first round before upsetting the ninth-seeded Auger-Aliassime today.

 

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