Greek ace caught in ‘sting operation’ after Russian rival Medvedev’s cheat claims (VIDEO)
Australian Open officials have been praised after launching a 'sting operation' to catch Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas 'red handed' during his Australian Open semifinal against Daniil Medvedev.
Much to the outrage of his Russian foe, Tsitsipas appeared to receive advice from his father Apostolos, who was watching the match from the player's box at Melbourne Park.
Such was the apparent frequency of the act that Medvedev urged umpire Jaume Campistol to give Tsitsipas a code violation after Tsitispas tied the score at a set each, and said he would be a "small cat" for not doing so.
"Are you mad? Can his father talk every point? Are you stupid? Oh my God, you are so bad," Medvedev raged in a meltdown.
"How can you be so bad in the semi-final of a grand slam? Look at me! I’m talking to you!"
MEDVEDEV BLOWS UP! 😡😡The Russian has sensationally accused Tsitsipas of being coached and has GIVEN IT to the umpire over it too! 🤯🤯#AusOpen - live on Channel 9, 9Now and Stan Sport. pic.twitter.com/8Xa3qOjvnf— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 28, 2022
But as footage later released online has shown, the officials brought things under control.
Rather sneakily, they tucked Greek official Eva Asderaki-Moore away in a corner near to where Apostolos was sitting and supposedly bellowing orders, yet out of sight to both father and son alike.
🚨 Caught red-handed! 🚨Check out the vision that shows the Tsitsipas camp caught in a STING by the umpires! 😲#AusOpen - live on Channel 9 and 9Now. Ad-Free Live & On Demand on Stan Sport pic.twitter.com/4AYq6oRp9b— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 28, 2022
In one video filmed around the time Tsitsipas was finally punished, Asderaki-Moore emerges and gives a signal to Campistol before going back into hiding, which confuses Stefanos and prompts him to perform a mock search for the spy.
"Ok, thank you, Eva. Thumbs up if the same [happens] again," Campistol says in a separate clip during the fourth and final set, as Tsitispas was trailing by two sets to one in what proved to be the last set before Medvedev eventually advanced to the final to face Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
"Ok, thank you Eva. Thumbs up if the same again" pic.twitter.com/dfQYGSbBCN— 🎾 (@justtennis_) January 28, 2022
"I can't recall seeing this before. Greek official Eva Asderaki-Moore standing in the tunnel below the Tsitsipas box to listen out for illegal coaching, and signals towards the match umpire when she hears it. Nicely executed officiating here," wrote tennis journalist Stuart Fraser.
On social media, fans likewise reacted to the sting.
"Nothing beats a bit of espionage to go with your tennis for your Friday night entertainment. Very well played Australian Open," beamed one.
"The ultimate CheatiPas finally gets caught! When will he and daddy ever learn?" it was asked.
Nothing beats a bit of espionage to go with your tennis for your Friday night entertainment!! Very well played #AusOpen— Colette Garnaut (@ColetteGarnaut) January 28, 2022
Other punters discussed how world number four Tsitsipas was "renowned" for overstepping the line.
"He's fined all the time, but the fine is small so it has no effect on his Dad," someone else agreed.
My wife is a huge tennis fan & watches virtually every event on the tennis calendar & she has advised me that Tsitsipas always appears to be getting coaching from his box.— NRL CONSPIRACIES 🤔👀🏉 (@NrlConspiracies) January 28, 2022
Earlier in the tournament, concerns over such coaching were raised as Tsitsipas saw off Taylor Fritz and again received a violation for it.
"At some point, his father needs to get out of there. Let Stefanos figure things out himself," suggested seven-time Grand Slam king Mats Wilander on punditry duties for Eurosport.
"You can have a proper go through the match beforehand and afterward, but Stefanos can solve the problems."
Ex-British number one Tim Henman agreed with this and said that "it will make Stefanos a better player if he works it out for himself", adding: "If he always has his dad in his ear saying ‘serve here, run there’ I don’t think he develops".
Some fans on Twitter didn't think it was problem, with one stating: "Who cares if the players get coached. Tennis is so precious…. In a bad way".
In line with this, Medvedev admitted: "I don’t consider coaching as cheating, but it should be a code violation. And then the second one would be a bit tricky."
Who cares if the players get coached. Tennis is so precious…. In a bad way.— Darrell Wilson (@DarrellWilson2) January 28, 2022
because it's currently against the rule and doing so is cheating. they can campaign to remove the rule etc but while it's here you gotta play fair— malta (@__deconstruct) January 28, 2022
Reflecting on his loss, Tsitsipas confessed that he has spent "countless hours" trying to figure out the coaching issue with his father.
"But it's part of him," Tsitsipas went on. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep receiving coaching violations, even though I will never listen to any single thing he says. But it's fine, they can do that if they want, if they believe it's right.
"That was also one of the reasons last year I went out publicly on one of my social media platforms and said that I think coaching should be allowed, simply because coaches do it anyways," he concluded.