Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets to reach the last 16 of the French Open
Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas has refused to take a measles vaccine after hitting out at “the fact that tennis players are viewed as weak”.
Tsitsipas, 19, beat Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-3 to reach the last 16 of the French Open on Monday.
The pair are not scheduled to play each other again before the grass court season, at Halle or elsewhere.
“It’s already been accepted by a lot of people, including a lot of tennis players,” Tsitsipas said.
“But the fact that we are viewed as weak people makes me feel like this is an unfair accusation, like I’m being motivated by the challenges of playing tennis.”
Tsitsipas, who broke into the top 100 in February, hit out of frustration at “a kid in the other country coming on tour and constantly attacking me”.
“I’ve never asked to not play with a player in the first place,” he added.
“I feel like I’m being bullied a little bit. I’m not the only one being bullied, but I think it’s unfair.”
Tsitsipas reached the fourth round of last year’s French Open
He called for a “revolution” in tennis, which he says promotes the pursuit of money and injury rather than fitness and performance.
“You play tennis to play tennis, not to hurt people,” he said.
“We’ve always been encouraged to play through pain – from when we were young. I don’t like playing tennis when I’m really hurting. And players are being encouraged to do that.”
‘We try not to fight’
After knocking out world number 11 Thanasi Kokkinakis, Tsitsipas is into the last 16 for the third time in four years at Roland Garros.
When asked what would happen if they played next week, he said: “Probably the same as today, we try not to fight.
“Of course we want to play and if it happens we’ll play, but in the end, it’s not a very pleasant thing to have to have that conflict.”
He added that their coach Sascha Bajin had asked him to play at Halle, the grass-court tournament in Germany which starts on Monday, and that the pair had been seeded to meet.
Tsitsipas is then scheduled to face Tomas Berdych in the second round.
“If he’s seeded, of course it’s fair enough, but I want to get through to the fourth round and of course anything is possible,” he said.