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Ailing Tsitsipas downplays Indian Wells chances

Australian Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas downplayed his expectations for the Indian Wells ATP Masters on Wednesday, saying he’s still battling the shoulder injury that saw him pull out of Acapulco last month.

The world number three from Greece, seeded second in the prestigious hard court tournament in the California desert, had been hoping to build on his run to the Australian Open final, where he fell to Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic.

But he picked up a shoulder injury after his Melbourne run, and even though he’s entered in both Indian Wells and the Miami Masters he said his “main priority is getting my body ready and fixed for the clay court swing.”

“I’m still in recovery,” he said. “Personally I haven’t said it a lot of times in my career but I don’t think I will be capable of going deep.

“It’s a very unfortunate injury at this time of the year because I had a very good strong start to the year.

“I consider a Grand Slam final a good result to start the year with and one that I was unfamiliar with before.

“However, it’s important to keep faith in a daily procedure to get back healthy.”

After a first round bye Tsitsipas will open his campaign against Australian Jordan Thompson, who blew past Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-1 in the French veteran’s first match in seven months.

Thompson, ranked 87th in the world, needed just 64 minutes to seal the win and said his recent victory in a low-tier Challenger event in Rome had given him the “match toughness” that Monfils lacked.

Monfils, 36, had retired from a match in Montreal last August with a foot injury that turned out to be a plantar fascia rupture.

“It’s great to be back. to actually be a real tennis player,” Monfils said. “Obviously it didn’t work out my way but I’m quite happy to be back in action.”

Monfils said he had trouble adapting as sunset brought an abrupt change in the desert conditions.

Thompson, meanwhile was pleased with his ability to adjust.

“When the sun goes down obviously it’s very cold here,” he said. “I thought I did a pretty good job of getting through it.”

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