Andy Murray lost respect for him but that did not stop Stefanos Tsitsipas from taking another lengthy bathroom break during his latest match at the US Open.
- World number three Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken long mid-match bathroom breaks in successive matches at the US Open
- There are no rules about how long or short a bathroom break has to take
- An opponent accused the Greek star of communicating with his coach and father during the Cincinnati Masters
After losing the third set tie-break against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, the third seed disappeared for eight minutes before returning to take the next set 6-0 to move into the third round.
“That break helped me refresh myself as I like to do,” Tsitsipas said.
“It’s good for me to be less sweaty, feel fresh and start a new set with a fresh mindset and recalibrate myself. You carry less weight on you with all the sweat.
“I follow the rules, I didn’t break anything, there is a rule for that that doesn’t really specify the time that you have to spend in the bathroom.”
Mannarino said the tennis governing bodies had to change their system, which currently allows players to take one break in best-of-three matches and two breaks in best-of-five matches, but does not specify how long the breaks have to be.
“He’s not doing anything wrong, I think the rules are wrong; the ATP, ITF should think about maybe changing the rules about these long breaks,” he said.
Serena Williams’s long-time coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has been in the Tsitsipas camp at Flushing Meadows and said the Greek star was not trying to get an advantage over his opponents.
“Rafa [Nadal] takes a lot of time between the serves, he doesn’t do that to annoy the opponent, he does it because it’s good for him,” he told ESPN.
“Andy [Murray] takes a lot of time between the first and the second serve. Players do what is good for them, they don’t do it to annoy the other players.”
Murray said the medical timeout and bathroom breaks that Tsitsipas took during their first-round match were tactical.
“I have zero time for that stuff at all and I lost respect for him … I think it’s nonsense and he knows it as well,” Murray said.
Tsitsipas returned serve by pointing out the Scot had visited the bathroom when it was two sets all during his victory over Novak Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final.
“Can you please look it up and let me know next time?” Tsitsipas said to reporters at his post-match media conference.
Tsitsipas was booed by the crowd when he returned from his break in the match against Mannarino.
“I love the fans but some people don’t understand, that’s all. They haven’t played tennis at a high level,” the French Open finalist said.
This did not wash with Australian commentator, coach and former Davis Cup player Darren Cahill.
World number four Alexander Zverev said Tsitsipas was exchanging text messages with his coach and father Apostolos during a bathroom break in their recent semi-final at the Cincinnati Masters.
“The whole game plan changes, it’s a very magical place that he goes to or there is communication there,” Zverev said.
Even some of Tsitsipas’s supporters believe an eight-minute bathroom visit is excessive.
“It’s probably too long. The ATP has to make a rule so it’s three minutes, five minutes and all the players are going to stick to that,” Mouratoglou said.
But until that happens, the 22-year old will be heading off-court when the need arises.
“Some players take as we know much more than 25 seconds between points,” he said.
“I don’t have anything against any player and I never complain of what other players do.
“My parents have taught me not to watch other people’s business and concentrate on myself.
“Everybody has their own time, I try and be as quick as I can, sometimes I just need a bit more time.”