The official injury was listed as a back issue, but the main problem was movement, according to Tsitsipas. We've had rumours for a few days that he was dealing with some issues but the elbow was primarily named.
He skipped a few practices but admitted after retiring that movement bothered him the most. He looked fine against Jannik Sinner despite the loss but simply felt terrible today even if the doctors cleared him to play.
I practiced the last few days. I didn't spend a lot of time on the court. I had a little bit of trouble with my movement. It's mainly affected when I move. It's difficult to compete in the match without having to move. This is tennis. This is not darts.
Playing with pain is nothing strange to Tsitsipas, as he did it multiple times in his career. Plenty of players play with semi-regular pain; however, this pain was simply too much. He did look pretty weird in those three games, certainly not as bouncy as usual.
For me, it's important to be fit and feel good with my back. The pain was very big. I've gone through pain during matches in the past, and I endured pain, but this was clearly too much to handle. I had to take the difficult decision to do what I did.
Some might wonder why Tsitsipas opted to play at all, and it's a valid question, but he thought it could be done. By the time he was warming up on the court, Tsitsipas realized that he likely wouldn't be able to play the match but gave it a go.
I felt it at the second game of the match. I actually felt it in the warm-up with my serve. Warming up on my serve, I felt very irritated and lots of pain hitting me on my back. I kind of knew at that time that I might not be able to go all the way.