Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek tennis player who drew Andy Murray’s ire after taking an eight-minute bathroom break in the middle of their U.S. Open match on Monday, appears to be back in hot water, so to speak.
The 23-year-old player was made privy to the US Open crowd’s disapproval after trotting off to the privy yet again for another eight-minute pause during a match against Adrian Mannarino on Wednesday. After the break — during which Mannarino had to practice serves to keep his shoulder loose — Tsitsipas returned to booing from the spectators, but still went on to win the match.
“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Tsitsipas said afterward. “The people love the sport; they come to watch tennis. I have nothing against them. I love the fans. But some people don’t understand … They haven't played tennis at high level to understand how much effort and how [difficult] it is to do what we are doing. Sometimes we need a short break to do what we have to do.” Okay, self-care king!
Unlike Murray, who accused Tsitsipas of cheating and has continued to take cracks at his loo habits on Twitter, Mannarino said that Tsitsipas is not at fault. Rather, the French player opined, the problem lies in Grand Slam rules, which limit breaks to two per five-set match, but do not dictate how long they should be, beyond “reasonable.” How very French to condemn systemic failures rather than place the blame on the individual!
The question of bathroom breaks has quickly become the hot topic of the U.S. Open, with current and former players weighing in. American player Sloane Stephens sided with Murray in the debate on Wednesday, saying, “I think there definitely needs to be a rule or changes … When you get into six, seven, eight, nine minutes, OK, what are you doing in there? Do you need help?”
So what, maybe Tsitsipas — like all of us — does need a little help in the latrine from time to time. But that’s between him and his gastroenterologist.