Tennis Star Takes Another Long Break, Returns to Boos

Another of Stefanos Tsitsipas' opponents calls for rule change
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2021 12:39 PM CDT
Tennis Star Takes Another Long Break, Returns to Boos
Stefanos Tsitsipas, of Greece, reacts to winning a point against Adrian Mannarino, of France, during the second round of the US Open tennis championships, Wednesday, in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Stefanos Tsitsipas is sticking to his lengthy bathroom breaks, despite Andy Murray's fury. The Greek tennis star defeated France's Adrian Mannarino in four sets to reach the third round of the US Open on Wednesday, but only after leaving the court for more than seven minutes and returning to boos from the crowd, CNN reports. Tsitsipas had defeated Murray of Great Britain in the first round after another lengthy bathroom break and medical timeout. Such long breaks appear to be a staple of Tsitsipas' game. Murray argued he was abusing the rules and called for a rule change, adding that he'd suffered physically during the sudden break in play.

Mannarino asked to hit balls during Tsitsipas' absence before the start of the fourth set so as to avoid stiffening up. But that didn't prevent his loss. Asked about his departure from the court, Tsitsipas said he'd changed his clothes, as in Monday's match. "You feel rejuvenated, you feel fresh, and you don't have all the sweat bothering you and coming in your face, on your fingers, everywhere all over your body. It makes you feel better," he said. He also said he'd broken no rules. The Grand Slam rulebook only states players should return to the court in a "reasonable" amount of time, per ESPN.

"If I'm staying within the guidelines, then what's the issue?" the 23-year-old said. "I try and be as quick as I can." As for the boos, "some people don't understand," he went on. "They haven't played tennis at [a] high level to understand how much effort and how much difficult[y] it is to do what we are doing. Sometimes we need a short break to do what we have to do." At one point, Tsitsipas asked a reporter how long of a break Murray took during his win in the 2012 US Open final, and was told it was three minutes. "Okay, so three minutes more makes a difference?" he said. Mannarino agreed with both Tsitsipas and Murray. "He's not doing anything wrong," he said, per ESPN. But "I think the rule is wrong." (More tennis stories.)

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