A day after Andy Murray went ballistic because of Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘tendency to take long toilet breaks in the middle of tennis games, Alexander Zverev continued the pile on Tuesday, saying Tsitsipas’ tactics are not reminiscent of something you’d see in junior tennis the professional ranks.
“It happens with every game. That’s not normal, ”said Zverev, who defeated American Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 at the start of his US Open. “That happened to me at the French Open, Novak (Djokovic) in the final at the French Open. You know, I think he complained to (Filip) Krajinovic in Hamburg, it was ridiculous against me in Cincinnati, and now here again. I think the players are catching up with that.
Tsitsipas, who was seeded in third place, left for about eight minutes before the fifth set of his first-round match against Murray on Monday. Murray, who complained that he was losing his adrenaline over time and stiffening, had to break his serve immediately and lost the decisive set 6: 4. After the game, he said he had lost respect for Tsitsipas and urged tennis to take action against players who abuse the rule that allows players to take toilet breaks or request medical time off.
Zverev was in a similar position in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on August 21. After winning the first set 6-4, Tsitsipas took his bag to the bathroom, presumably to put on dry clothes.
But during the long break, Zverev accused Tsitsipas of taking his cell phone to the bathroom and texting his father / trainer Apostolos, which would be a violation of the ATP rules. Tsitsipas denied he ever did anything like this when asked Monday night, but Zverev doubled in when asked about it on Tuesday.
“He’s been gone for over 10 minutes. His father writes a text message on the phone. He comes out and suddenly his tactics have completely changed, “said Zverev. “Not just me, but everyone saw it. The whole game plan changes. ”.
“Either it’s a very magical place he goes, or there is communication there. But I don’t want to disregard him either. He’s a great player. It is not without reason that it is number 3 in the world. He’s winning tournaments and he’s been playing incredible tennis this year for good reason, so it’s not just that. But I believe, and Andy said so, that everyone needs to have some level of respect between players. Sometimes I have the feeling, yes – or maybe he just goes to the bathroom. We do not know that. That is also possible. But it just happens too often, I would say. “
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Although Zverev said that Tsitsipas’ actions violated an “unwritten rule” between players, Tsitsipas has claimed that he is only using this time to move. And there are some players who agree with him.
After beating Soonwoo Kwon in the first round, given the hot and humid conditions and physicality of tennis, American Reilly Opelka said that it is not surprising that players need some time to change into dry clothes during a long game .
“To change clothes or to go after you, you know, we drink two sets, we drink a lot, we have to use the toilet,” he said. “My socks, shoes, my insoles in my shoes, shorts, shirt, everything, the whole nine meters, changing my hat takes five or six minutes. Then I run to and from the court.
“If people don’t understand that, then they clearly have never had a day in the life of a professional athlete, or have come close to him.”