Andy Murray has hit out at Stefanos Tsitsipas over his “nonsense” comfort breaks following the pair’s epic encounter in the US Open first round.
Murray produced one of his finest performances in years to push the world number three all the way, but the Greek 23-year-old fought back to win a five-set epic.
During the encounter Tsitsipas had a lengthy toilet break at the end of the second set, a medical time-out at the end of the third set, and an eight-minute comfort break at the end of the fourth set.
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And the timing and length of the stoppages visibly riled Murray, who shouted to his book that “it’s cheating”, as well as complaining to match supervisor Gerry Armstrong that "it's never taken me that long to go to the bathroom ever”.
And speaking to the assembled media after the 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 epic, Murray went further, detailing the reasons for his dissatisfaction.
"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. So I was trying to do that.
“But the issue is that you cannot stop the way that that affects you physically. When you’re playing a brutal match like that, you know, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down.
I don’t believe it was causing him any issue at all. The match went on for another two- and a-bit hours after that or something. He was fine, moving great I thought.
"Every single time it was before my serve, as well. Also in the fourth set when I had 0-30, he chose to go and I think he changed his racket.
"It can't be coincidence that it's happening at those moments.”

Andy Murray

Image credit: Getty Images

Tsitsipas crucially broke serve in the first game of the fifth and deciding set, immediately after his longest break.
And Murray says that the stoppages impacted the match.
"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.
I rate him a lot. I think he's a brilliant player. I think he's great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.
“Right now sitting here I feel like 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 the fans.”
Murray is not the first player to be riled by the 23-year-old’s stoppages.
Alexander Zverev went as far as suggesting that Tsitsipas took his phone with him for effectively on-court coaching during an incident earlier in August, while Daniil Medvedev, Filip Krajinovic, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ugo Humbert have also criticised the tactic.
“It’s rubbish. I don’t think that it’s right,” Murray said.
“I’m sitting in here after a match like that against one of the best players in the world, and rather than talking about how fantastic he is, how good he is for the game, how great it was for me that I was able to put on a performance like that after everything that’s gone on the last four years, I’m sitting in here talking about bathroom breaks and medical timeouts and delays in matches.”
The 34-year-old Brit revealed that he was concerned about speaking to the press after his match for fear of sounding like a poor loser.
But insists that the outcome of the match, while impacting his mood, would not have changed his view of the issue.
“Just do something about it,” Murray said in an appeal to the ATP. “We speak about it all the time and nothing ever gets done. The same things keep happening.
I didn’t want to do press tonight because I know I’m going to sit here and it’s going to seem like I’m just smashing him, it sounds like sour grapes because you’ve lost a match and everything.
“I would have said the same thing if I’d won, I promise. It was nonsense, and he knows it.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Image credit: Getty Images

Responding to Murray’s on-court criticism, Tsitsipas did not deny that the stoppages were a tactic, but said that all of his actions fell within ATP guidelines.
"If there's something that he [Murray] has to tell me, the two of us should speak to understand what went wrong,” he said.
"I don't think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines, how everything is. I don't know how my opponent feels when I'm out there playing the match. It's not really my priority.
"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.
"I think it's clear that I took my clothes with me when I left the court.
"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."
Grand Slam rules state that "a player may request permission to leave the court for a reasonable time for a toilet break".
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