Tuesday, August 31, 2021
“A damn joke”
Toilet break makes tennis star angry
The playful class of Stefanos Tsitsipas is undisputed – and yet the tennis professional attracts massive criticism. After Alexander Zverev, Andy Murray is now also upset. About the fact that the Greeks take so long on the toilet. And that this dubious behavior is allowed.
Sir Andy was “not amused” and the tennis nobleman from Great Britain let the world know. “That’s a bloody joke,” scolded the three-time Grand Slam champion with the artificial hip. In a gripping first-round thriller at the US Open, Andy Murray had just conceded the 2-2 set compensation against the favored Stefanos Tsitsipas – but that wasn’t what upset him.
The Scot was much more angry about one of the long breaks that had brought his opponent a lot of criticism in the past few weeks. “What did he do there? I’ve never needed so long to go to the toilet,” said the visibly angry Murray to the referee and continued to moan.
Tsitsipas, number three on the seed list, had disappeared into the catacombs for about eight minutes. By then, Murray had given him a memorable fight, the injury-ridden veteran was the better player for much of the game and brought back memories of his great triumphs at Wimbledon, New York and at the Olympic Games. It was only Tsitsipas’ long break that threw him out of the rhythm.
The interruption, Murray later explained, he was mentally able to cope with. The bigger problem was the physical effect: “You just cool down when you play such a brutal match and then suddenly stop for seven or eight minutes.” Especially with a metal hip.
Petkovic sees tactics more in younger players
After the third sentence, the Greek had already allowed himself to be treated for no apparent reason. “He’s a brilliant player and great for the game, but I don’t have time for such antics,” said Murray after the five-set defeat: “I’ve lost my respect for him.”
Tsitsipas is known for taking tactical breaks during matches; Alexander Zverev recently complained about it after a dramatic semi-final in Cincinnati. “I like to win with tennis and lose with tennis. Some players just don’t,” Zverev said after the match. But Tsitsipas was right when he said: “I didn’t break any rules.”
And he is by no means the only professional who disappears for a short or longer period of time. When the Greek was two sets ahead of tour dominator Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open, the Serb went out, rallied and suddenly played with new strength. As long as the statutes do not provide for any time limits, the discussions will continue.
Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber can understand Murray’s anger. “In general, it has become a tactic that the young players use,” said Petkovic. You and Kerber would “rather continue playing with a broken finger” than disappearing for minutes during a match. Sir Andy would never think of that anyway – despite his hip pain.