Injured Stefanos Tsitsipaps lasted just 15 minutes before retiring in his ATP Finals group match on Tuesday against Holger Rune, with the Dane posting a 2-1 win.
The Greek who won the year-end title in 2019 in London, was unable to play on due to a lower back injury; the No. 6 has previously been dealing with an elbow problem late in the regular season.
The quick win leaves Rune standing 1-1 after losing his opening match here to Novak Djokovic.
The 20-year-old Dane would likely be heading to the practice courts with coach Boris Becker to work up a sweat after the aborted match at the Pala Alpitour.
“I didn’t know anything before starting. I was just ready to compete and build on the level that I did on Sunday,” the winner said.
“I was expecting a different match obviously, but another tough one.
“I saved two break points in the first game, so it actually started off very, very tough. Unfortunate it ended this way.”
Tsitsipas was jeered by fans as he walked off court with a trainer, with the public unaware of the nature of his injury
“I didn’t hear any (injury) rumours,” Rune said. “I never had one thought in my mind that he might retire.
“Of course, it’s very, very unfortunate for the fans because it’s a tough one. But, again, good for my legs.
Alternates Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz were due to play an exhibition set to placate the sellout crowd of disgruntled ticket holders.
Rune now stands 3-0 in his career series with Tsitsipas,
Tsitsipas later gave details of his back injury:
” I’m really gutted that I wasn’t able to finish the match. It’s a shame also not to give that (tournament) spot to someone else to at least try and do something with it.
“My doctors and the countless visits that I had in last few days suggested that I play, they gave me the green light to go and try it for myself.
“Unfortunately, I felt terrible on the court. I did what I could do in the best possible way to be ready and fit for this match, but it didn’t work out for me.”
The former champion added: “I hate retiring from matches. I’m not the kind of person that likes leaving mid match.
“It kills me not to be able to finish this tournament, the one that I’ve prepped for for so long, made sure that I’m completely fit to perform at my best and show my capacities as a player.”
Main photo:- Holger Rune wins as Tsitsipas is forced to quit.