SportsTennis players and visiting the bathroom: need or ruse?

Tennis players and visiting the bathroom: need or ruse?


Andy Murray is not a guy who talks randomly or seeks the limelight for free. That is why the dialectical shot of the Scotsman, who at 34 competes with a titanium hip and rushes to the last drop of tennis, demonstrating like few others a fervent commitment to his sport, resounded from one extreme to another in Flushing Meadows.

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“Instead of sitting here talking about how great a tennis player he is, how good he is for tennis or how important it is for me to have played the way I have played after everything I’ve been through for the last four years, I’m here talking about visits to the bathroom or medical care… This is rubbish, it doesn’t make sense. But I would have said the exact same thing if I had won, I promise, “said the former number one, still hot and angry after falling in the first round (2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3 and 6 -4) in front of Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom he pointed out unceremoniously and accused of having intentionally acted in an unsportsmanlike manner.

The spark that lit Murray’s flame was the Greek’s maneuver in the transition from fourth to fifth. Until then, the duel was resolved between nuances, on a very narrow edge that was broken when the young Tsitsipas (23) picked up his bag and went to the locker room to, theoretically, change his clothes and refresh himself. However, the Athenian lingered for more than eight minutes; More than enough time, Murray understood, for his body and hips to cool down, and in this way his game lost vigor and his rival faced the fifth set benefited by the pause.

“It is not because of the fact that it is gone, but because of the time it has taken. I spoke with my team before starting and he told them that something like this could happen if things didn’t go well for him, but you can’t stop the game that way, “Murray reproached him, who also recalled that his opponent had already requested medical assistance. when he won the third set, and that in the fourth he stopped the action in a delicate situation (0-30 against) to change racket. “In the two and a half hours that the game has lasted then [4h 49m en total], his knee has not bothered him … It did not give that he had won, but this has affected. I appreciate him, but I don’t like these things. I have lost the respect I had for him ”.

Fuzzy rule: “reasonable time”

Tsitsipas, for her part, spoke aseptically and as if she had never broken a plate. “I don’t think I have broken any rules, I follow the ATP regulations. I think we should talk to analyze what happened, I have absolutely nothing against him, “said the number three in the world, whose classmates have taken his registration since, they say, he repeats tricks. “He takes everything to the locker room and on top of that his father is there, with his cell phone. It already happened in Paris and it will happen in all the tournaments in which he plays ”, Alexander Zverev denounced two weeks ago, when both were measured in the semifinals of Cincinnati and Tsitsipas also retired to the locker room, insinuating the German who had taken advantage of the stay to exchange messages with his father, and at the same time technical.

Murray protests during the match at Arthur Ashe.Robert Deutsch / Reuters

In any case, the scene is not new: the tennis players and the bathroom, an old and recurring controversy. In accordance with Grand Slam Rule Book, the book that specifies the rules in major tournaments, players have the right to take two breaks in five-set matches and one in three-set matches, both to use the bathroom and to change clothes, but not “for no other reason ”; They can only do it between sets and a specific time is not required, but simply appeals to a “reasonable” band; and details that more breaks can be used, but that they will be penalized according to the Penalty Point system, which punishes depending on the degree of the offense.

Rule (Toilet break) continues to generate controversy. There are those who simply abide by it, but voices abound that argue that it should be reviewed, following Murray’s recommendation. “I hate her, she’s ridiculous. The pause is often extended beyond 10 minutes ”, laments Brad Gilbert, a prestigious coach of tennis players like Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick or Murray himself. “They talk about it all the time, but nothing is done and these things continue to happen”, underlines the Scotsman, who, already cold, influenced criticism with irony: “Stefanos Tsitsipas has twice the difficulty of going to the bathroom than Jeff Bezos fly into space. Interesting”.

From US Open 2012 to Paris 2021

This time it is Tsitsipas, but they are and have been many others. Without going any further, Murray himself, who years ago acknowledged that the maneuver helped him decide the final of the 2012 US Open against Novak Djokovic, another player who is credited with a sophisticated handling of interruptions. “His secret weapon”, he pointed The Wall Street Journal in July, referring to number one. Precisely, Nole made a stop at boxes in the final of the last Rolando Garros, when he was two sets down against the Greek, which served to completely reverse the dynamics of the pulse.

“He came back as if he were a new player, I don’t know how he did it. I felt like, suddenly, I could read my game. He did it very well, “said the boy from Athens, who is now being observed with suspicion. “I have done it throughout my entire career, I needed time to change and come back. I only know that we can go twice, I have never gone against the rules ”, Tsitsipas defends himself while the debate continues: necessity or stratagem?

Check the Results of the day / Order of play Wednesday.

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