Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas had a first-round doozy on Monday, with Murray taking a 1-0, 2-1 set lead over the Greek star, but Tsitsipas fought back in the fourth and fifth sets to save his blush from a first-round exit and move on. It was after the fourth set that it got tough.
Tsitsipas left the court for two ‘bathroom breaks’, but one that lasted ten minutes. We’ve all had toilet breaks that lasted so long, for a variety of reasons, none of which are worth discussing in public. It was suspected, however, that Tsitsipas didn’t exactly have a billowing stomach or anything like that. That’s because the crowds on the tour is that he takes his cellphone with him to these bathroom breaks, where no coaching is allowed, nor any interaction with a coach. And his father is busy typing on his phone while Tsitsipas is not on the job.
Murray was visibly pissed throughout the fifth set and continued are grumbling after the game. It didn’t help that Tsitsipas also took a medical timeout and switched rackets mid-match, both tactics he and other players have used to knock an opponent off the beaten path. A 10-minute break in the middle of a match is certainly something of a circuit breaker for a player.
This comes back to the coaching rules in tennis, which started it whole Serena Williams kerfuffle in 2018 final. Just allowing coaching for players (the WTA does that for non-majors) would partly solve this. But I’m one of the few who enjoy the uniqueness of tennis, where you’re alone and have to figure it out. What made Serena such a great champion was not just her otherworldly skill and strength, but the fact that she could outperform so many opponents who only had a Plan A.
Tsitsipas is always a brain genius (his last crusade is to avoid the vaccine and see everyone just get the virus as protection, as no one has explained to this jackwagon that that’s a vaccine), but he’s not the only player bending medical timeouts and bathroom breaks to alter the course of a match. The ATP and WTA need to tackle this sort of thing, or just let it go altogether, but these half measures don’t seem to make anyone happy.