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US Open 2021 – ‘Weird to take eight minutes’ – Did Stefanos Tsitsipas go too far with toilet breaks against Andy Murray?

US Open 2021 - 'Weird to take eight minutes' - Did Stefanos Tsitsipas go too far with toilet breaks against Andy Murray?

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Tournaments need to do more to ensure players do not exploit bathroom breaks, according to Eurosport expert Alex Corretja.

Former US Open champion Andy Murray was furious with Stefanos Tsitsipas for stalling their epic first round match at Flushing Meadows.

Tsitsipas stormed back to win in five sets but Murray lashed out at his opponent’s “nonsense” comfort breaks, with the Greek third seed having a lengthy toilet break at the end of the second set, a medical time-out at the end of the third set, and another eight-minute break at the end of the fourth set.

“I rate him a lot. I think he’s a brilliant player,” said Murray. “I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.

“Right now sitting here I feel like it’s nonsense and they need to make a change because it’s not good for the sport, it’s not good for TV, it’s not good for the fans.”

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Murray then took to Twitter to continue his rant, claiming Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could fly to space faster than Tsitsipas took to go to the toilet.

Corretja sympathised with Murray after the match, but suggested Tsitsipas had not intentionally tried to unsettle him.

“Of course, we all went to the bathroom, to the locker room [during a match],” said Corretja.

“But it’s kind of weird if you take eight or nine minutes. In a tough match, [when] you’re sat down and you wait… it’s not easy to recover.

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I don’t think Stefanos does it on purpose to break down the rhythm of an opponent. I think he’s just taking his time and probably no one is telling him ‘OK, hurry up’. That’s where the supervisors should be more aware, to say ‘listen, you can’t spend 10 minutes after the second or third set’.

“I think it was difficult for Andy to come back. When you get a little bit older, your muscles get a little bit stiffer. I’m not saying Andy is old, but of course I think Tsitsipas physically was a little bit stronger at the end of the match.”

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Murray is not the first player to be riled by the 23-year-old’s stoppages.

Alexander Zverev went as far as suggesting that Tsitsipas took his phone with him for effectively on-court coaching during an incident earlier in August, while Daniil Medvedev, Filip Krajinovic, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ugo Humbert have also criticised the tactic.

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Responding to Murray’s on-court criticism, Tsitsipas did not deny that the stoppages were a tactic, but said that all of his actions fell within ATP guidelines.

“If there’s something that he [Murray] has to tell me, the two of us should speak to understand what went wrong,” he said.

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“I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines, how everything is. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority. As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.

“I think it’s clear that I took my clothes with me when I left the court. That’s the amount of time it takes for me to change my clothes and to walk back to the court takes a little bit of time.”

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Grand Slam rules state that “a player may request permission to leave the court for a reasonable time for a toilet break”.

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Watch daily evening highlights on Eurosport 1, plus the men’s and women’s finals live on Eurosport 2. All coverage is also available to stream via eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.

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