Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev met in the 2023 Italian Open semifinals but the start was different than to many ATP matches.
The anticipation was high already ahead of the meeting, and not just for the match itself. But even though the two had their differences in the past, the fact that they did not take a picture together ahead of the semifinal surprised many and added another layer to their already heated clash.
Their rivalry started back in 2018 at the Miami Open. Medvedev won that match, but it was the post-match altercation that stuck in people's minds and set the tone for their future encounters. Tsitsipas, upset by some of Medvedev's behavior during the match, dubbed him a 'bullsh*t Russian', while Medvedev, in turn, called his Greek opponent a 'small kid who doesn't know how to fight'.
Despite this rocky start, both players have gone on to establish themselves as valuable members of the ATP Tour's Top 10. They have faced each other 11 times, with Medvedev leading the rivalry 7-4. However, Tsitsipas has managed to win four of their last six encounters.
Their paths crossed at Foro Italico earlier during the week, and the two did not even look at each other, making fans even more excited for their potential meeting which became a reality only a few days later.
Ahead of the semifinal, rather than using the customary photo opportunity, the two players went to their sides of the court and started the warm-up. The match was then stopped by the rain multiple times and even the drama between Tsitsipas and his parents has added to the interesting clash.
Already in the final, Holger Rune awaits the winner of the match after beating Casper Ruud earlier on the day, and he will try to use all the factors that played in his favour to his advantage on Sunday.