Holger Rune goes out of his way to defend Stefanos Tsitsipas

(Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
(Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images) /

When Stefanos Tsitsipas was forced to end his match against Holger Rune at the ATP Finals after just three games, the crowd in Turin, Italy booed and whistled. Tsitsipas handled the reaction with class and then he withdrew from the tournament due to a back injury. But some fans on X feel Tsitsipas knew he was injured and only played three games because that is what he needed to do to receive a $244,125 appearance fee for playing in his second match at the ATP Finals.

Holger Rune disputes this, however. To be sure, Rune has no reason to protect Tsitsipas from any criticism; Rune was just the Greek’s opponent on Tuesday. Holger Rune would have also seen Tsitsipas prior to reaching the court and would have known if Tsitsipas was unlikely to be able to play.

Tsitsipas implied he had been suffering from the injury, which affects his service motion, for some time. Rune responded on X to those fans giving Tsitsipas some hate. And his response was spot on.

Holger Rune defends Stefanos Tsitsipas on social media

Said the Dane, “We are not in Stefanos’ body. So we cannot comment on what he should have done,” he wrote. “We are here to fight and win. No one here in the top 8 is a quitter and we will try to the end. If we only thought rationally, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

That Holger Rune wrote this means he is likely wise beyond his 20 years. Again, he has no real reason to stand up for Tsitsipas, other than maybe Rune already knows how easy it is via social media for fans to criticize players they do not know and do not know how injured they are.

Plus, let us assume Tsitsipas did play three games – the normal amount needed in order to receive the appearance fee – and then left the court knowing he would get paid. Why shouldn’t he? Professional tennis players play the sport to make a living. Tsitsipas earned the right to play at the ATP Finals through his play over the last year. So what if he earns more than $200k by playing only three games? His leaving actually only helped Holger Rune.

Rune was awarded the victory and now needs a win to have a chance to make the semifinals of the ATP Finals. That is when the real money rolls in and makes Tsitsipas’ $200k payday look like pennies.

Next. Daniil Medvedev's simple response about Carlos Alcaraz. dark