Stefanos Tsitsipas caused controversy in his shock win over Roger Federer with a questionable tactic at a very crucial moment.
Federer’s quest for a record seventh Australian Open title came crashing to a dramatic halt with a shock fourth-round loss to Greek prodigy Tsitsipas.
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In a scintillating contest on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night, 37-year-old Federer could not overcome his 20-year-old opponent who claimed a 6-7 (11-13) 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-6 (7-5) victory to continue his magical run at Melbourne Park.
The match was not without its controversy, with both men agitated by a number of umpiring calls.
And Tsitsipas was on the receiving end of a raft of criticism late in the match when he called a medical timeout in a move that many thought was a tactical ploy.
Up 4-3 in the fourth set, the young Greek called for the trainer a good 10 minutes before he actually came out onto court, leaving Federer questioning the umpire as to whether or not Tsitsipas was legitimately injured.
The trainer proceeded to rub Tsitsipas’ lower legs, seemingly treating him for cramp – an ailment that umpires do not usually allow medical timeouts for.
TV commentators suggested Tsitsipas was only calling for the trainer to get a breather and disrupt Federer’s rhythm, a line of thought reflected on social media.
Physio on to massage Tsitsipas legs during changeover at 4-3 in 4th, potentially two games from victory. Federer not happy about it. Would have thought he might be encouraged seeing that personally. Kid might be cramping.
— David Law (@DavidLawTennis) January 20, 2019
Federer didn't look too happy about that trainer call from Tsitsipas. And even less now with that late change of racquet. Mind Games Are On.
— Carole Bouchard (@carole_bouchard) January 20, 2019
There is no way it’s fair that #Tsitsipas should be allowed treatment now.
He has gained an advantage with a massage at the change of ends.
— Andrew Castle (@AndrewCastle63) January 20, 2019
Well played to Tsitsipas on his win but he has an unsavoury side to him unfortunately with all the gamesmanship #australianopen
— Martyn Waller (@Martynw34) January 20, 2019
Tsitsipas got treatment for cramp? Is that allowed?
— Steph 🏴 (@tennisquine) January 20, 2019
just wondering how 37 year old roger federer feels about 20 year old stefanos tsitsipas calling a trainer for cramp in the fourth set #ausopen
— Malcolm Thomas (@dontbother) January 20, 2019
Tsitsipas then appeared to flout the rules again when he took his time returning to the court after the treatment.
Having already received two time violation warnings, John McEnroe felt he should have been hit with a point penalty.
“The umpire, I think, was lenient there,” Todd Woodbridge said in commentary.
“It was just a normal changeover and he took a lot longer.”
To his credit, Federer played down the controversy in his post-match press conference.
“It’s human and it’s part of the game,” Federer said of the umpire controversies.
“I’m not going to start complaining about linesmen or umpires.”
The 14th-seeded Tsitsipas will now face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals and could meet Rafael Nadal in the final four.