Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray ripped Stefanos Tsitsipas for “nonsense” delaying tactics in a five-set US Open comeback victory Monday, saying the moves influenced the outcome of the match, reports AFP.
Greek third seed Tsitsipas rallied to defeat the 34-year-old Scotsman 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after grinding through four hours and 39 minutes.
Murray barely greeted Tsitsipas at the net after the Greek third seed’s delays, including medical timeouts and bathroom breaks to disrupt Murray’s rhythm.
“I think he’s great for the game,” Murray said. “But I have zero time for that stuff at all and I lost respect for him.”
Tsitsipas brushed off Murray’s remarks.
“If there’s something he has to tell me, we should speak the two of us to kind of understand what went wrong,” Tsitsipas said. “I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines.
“As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.”
Murray says his adrenaline dropped after long delays by Tsitsipas.
“It’s not so much leaving the court. It’s the amount of time,” Murray said. “I spoke to my team before the match about it and said to expect that, prepare for it if things were not going his way.
“You cannot stop the way that affects you physically. When you’re playing a brutal match like that, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down. You can prepare for it mentally as much as you like, but it’s the fact that it does affect you physically when you take a break that long, well, multiple times during the match.
“Every single time it was before my serve as well. When he took the medical timeout (for his left leg), it was just after I had won the third set.”
In the fourth set, Tsitsipas made a racquet switch down 0-30. And after the fourth set, Tsitsipas took an unusually long bathroom break, then broke Murray to open the final set.
“It can’t be coincidence that it’s happening at those moments,” Murray said. “I don’t believe it was causing him any issue at all. He was fine, moving great I thought.
“It’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match.
“I’m not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had influence on what was happening after those breaks.”
Tsitsipas said his last break, timed beyond seven minutes, included a change of clothes as well.
“That’s the amount of time it takes for me to change my clothes and to walk back to the court takes a little bit of time,” he said.
“As far as I know you’re allowed to have two toilet breaks to go change your clothes in a five-setter. I’ve never broken any rules, so I see no reason that that’s a problem anyways.”
– Rule change ‘needed’ –
Murray said the players council is talking about rule changes to “make it less easy for the rules to be exploited,” and Tsitsipas took his timewasting too far.
“I think it’s nonsense,” Murray said. “And he knows it, as well.
“It’s nonsense and they need to make a change because it’s not good for the sport, it’s not good for TV, it’s not good for fans. I don’t think it’s a good look for the players either.”
Alexander Zverev protested a lengthy bathroom break by Tsitsipas in a semi-final match two weeks ago at Cincinnati.
“He knows. The other players know,” Murray said. “You could argue that I shouldn’t let that affect me. But genuinely it is difficult.
“Overall I did well but I’m really disappointed after that.”
Murray said he didn’t want his complaints to sound like “sour grapes” adding, “I would have said the same thing if I’d won, I promise.
“I’m sitting in here talking about bathroom breaks and medical timeouts and delays in matches. That’s rubbish. I don’t think that that’s right.”