Tsitsipas lost to 12th seed Taylor Fritz 6-7, 7-5, 3-6, 3-6 in three hours and four minutes. Defeat prevented a rematch of last year's Australian Open final, where Tsitsipas confronted Djokovic but lost in straight sets.
The Greek just narrowly kept his place in the world's Top 10 for now after Alex de Minaur failed to beat Andrey Rublev on Sunday. But the major talking point transpired on match point, which has seen Tsitsipas getting plenty of stick from some tennis fans.
Tsitsipas, already trailing in the fourth set, was serving to stay in the match and faced a match point in the ninth game. Feeling under the cosh, he tried the serve and volley approach, but it completely backfired.
Fritz stretched to claw the Tsitsipas serve down the T and returned it with purchase. Tsitsipas, who had rushed to the net, was caught in two minds as an awkward ball landed low in the middle of the court. The Greek miscalculated the bounce and played a poor volley.
Frtiz charged forward like a gazelle to plant the winning backhand pass. Tsitsipas tried in vain to distract the American by raising both his arms aloft, but it didn't deter Fritz's focus, who had only one place to put the ball, and it was inside the court.
One curious fan pointed out on X (formerly Twitter), "Did anyone notice how @steftsitsipas tried to distract @Taylor_Fritz97 on match point down?" in response to Tsitsipas' theatrics.
Another user wrote, "The umpire is probably happy Fritz made that final backhand so he didn't have to make the judgment call on whether to call hindrance on match point."
Tsitsipas' antics certainly didn't earn him appreciation points from one fan who said, "There’s a reason players like Tsitsipas won't become Federer, Djokovic’s of new generation, there is levels man. He’s not him. Only one man who comes close is Carlos Alcaraz."
"Would have been called for hindrance if Fritz hadn't made the passing shot. That's not allowed," one fan declared. While another drew parallels from how WTA World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has occasionally pulled off the same move, "Bro graduated from the Iga Swiatek school of whatever tf this was."