Tsitsipas sees no toilet worry but sportsmanship an issue

New York (AFP) –


Stefanos Tsitsipas says he doesn't see why fans boo him and rivals complain about his extended bathroom breaks, trips he says are important to keeping him among Grand Slam contenders.

But his latest losing rival sees a sportsmanship issue.

The Greek third seed took another of his controversial toilet treks lasting nearly eight minutes before the fourth set Wednesday before beating France's Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-0.

"That break on the third set helped me refresh myself, as I like to do," said Tsitsipas. "It's good for me to be less sweaty and feel fresh, start a new set with a fresh mindset, recalibrate myself."

Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev, who have lost after being on the receiving end of what they call gamesmanship moves from Tsitsipas, have ridiculed his long breaks as trips to the moon or longer than billionaire Jeff Bezos spent in his flight to space.

"I didn't break any rules," Tsitsipas said. "There is rule for that which really doesn't specify the time you have to spend in the bathroom. It's important to take it if you have to.

"For me it's important to take that break. For someone else probably not. And everyone has his own time. I try and be as quick as I can. Sometimes I just need a bit more time. That's all."

Mannarino didn't find the break funny at all.

"It's unsportsmanlike to leave the court like that during a match, even if it's not necessarily the case tonight," the Frenchman said.

"We've been talking about it for a long time. A toilet break is to go to the bathroom... if it's to break the rhythm it's unsportsmanlike conduct."

Mannarino admitted it's a move he has made before.

"There are so many players who use this tool. It helps to bring down the temperature. When you've just lost a set you're a bit nervous, the other player gets confidence," he said.

"I've done that in the past. If I lost a set I'd try to gain two minutes to recover because I knew I wasn't going to be lucid, so I would use the rules."

Tsitsipas said changing clothes to drop sweat left him "rejuvenated" and did not understand why fans booed him after his break and on some serves.

"I haven't done anything wrong, so I don't understand," he said.

- 'What's the issue?' -

With no time limit on breaks, Tsitsipas says he's within the rules to take as long as he likes.

"If I'm staying within the guidelines, then what's the issue?" Tsitsipas said. "Some players take much more than 25 seconds between points, which is fair."

Tsitsipas didn't fire back at those rivals who derided him.

"I don't have anything against any player, and I never complain of what other players do," he said. "Since a young kid, my parents have taught me not to watch other people's business, and concentrate on myself, do my job.

"I just don't understand when some players go and criticize other players, or during a match they put too much emphasis on it. The game is the game.

"I've done everything the right way. If I haven't, I should be penalized. But as far as I know, it's a need when I'm out there playing, performing."

US star Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, said there is "still a lot" of gamesmanship in women's tennis.

"I think there definitely needs to be a rule or changes," she said. "Six, eight minutes is a long time to leave a match. That changes the whole momentum of a match.

"What are you changing? When you get into six, seven, eight, nine minutes, OK, what are you doing in there? Do you need help? I can come help you. That's more where the issues are because it just becomes pure gamesmanship."