July 6, 2020 / 12:37 PM / a month ago

Tsitsipas, Moutet engage in war of words at event in France

(Reuters) - Players are allowed to show more emotions at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) than normally allowed on Tour and Frenchman Corentin Moutet did not hold back in an angry verbal exchange during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

Matches at the UTS, co-owned by Patrick Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, consist of four 10-minute quarters, with a two-minute break between them, and the player with most points win the quarter.

Moutet, ranked 75th in the world, saw a 2-0 lead in the match slip and lost his cool in the fourth quarter, accusing his opponent’s father and coach, Apostolos, for being disrespectful by talking when he was getting ready to serve.

The players got into a heated on-court discussion as Apostolos watched on before the umpire intervened and asked the players to resume play.

“I won’t speak about Stefanos, because he’s a good guy. But it’s just (his) father is stupid, everyone thinks he’s stupid,” Moutet told commentators during the break. “He’s speaking when I’m serving, all the time. It’s not respectful.”

The argument did not seem to have bothered Tsitsipas too much as he squared the match at 2-2 and then won it in sudden death.

“I had experience with this in the past. I don’t want to say more, but I don’t see why there should be a problem,” said men’s world number six Tsitsipas.

“My father is trying to encourage me before the serve and he’s not really interrupting. My opponent makes a big deal out of it.”

Tsitsipas, Richard Gasquet, Matteo Berrettini, and David Goffin have booked their spots in the semi-finals of the tournament, which is being held without fans at Mouratoglou’s academy in Nice, France.

World number three Dominic Thiem was the highest-ranked player at the tournament before the Austrian headed off to play in the exhibition event he is organising in Kitzbuhel.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge

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