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Zverev Rips Tsitsipas for "Ridiculous" Bathroom Breaks

By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Alexander Zverev fought off Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) to reach the Cincinnati final earlier this month.

The Olympic gold medal champion took a verbal shot at the third-seeded Greek following his US Open opening-round victory today.

Thiem: Should Be Time Limits for Bathroom Breaks

Asked to assess US Open contenders, Zverev cited Tsitsipas—and chided the Greek's fondness for the extensive bathroom break play.

"I think Stefanos can play well if he doesn't go to the moon and back for a toilet break, that will also help," Zverev said with a smile after sweeping Sam Querrey for his 12th straight win.

In the aftermath of his five-set loss to Tsitsipas in an epic US Open first-rounder on Monday, Andy Murray said he lost respect for the Greek after he took a more than eight-minute bathroom break to make a clothing change before the fifth set.

"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," Murray said. "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."

Former world No. 1 Murray's comments came 10 days after Zverev called Tsitsipas out for receiving coaching via text when he took a bathroom break in their Cincinnati semifinal.

Asked his reaction to Murray's criticism, Zverev called Tsitsipas' propensity for the extended bathroom break "ridiculous" and repetitive.

"It's happening every match. It's not normal. It happened to me in the French Open, to Novak at the finals the French Open," Zverev said. "You know, I think in Hamburg against Krajinovic he was complaining, against me in Cincinnati was ridiculous, and now here again. I think players are catching up on that.

"To be honest, he's the No. 3 player in the world. He's a top three player in the world. He's one of the best in the world at what he does. I do not believe that he needs to do that, because if you're top three in the world, you're one of the best in the sport. These kind of things happen at junior events, at futures, at challengers maybe, but not when you're top three in the world."

Tsitsipas shot down suggestions of gamesmanship saying he leaves the court to change clothes because he sweats excessively. Tsitsipas said he has never received illegal coaching via text and reiterated he has no plans to stop taking bathroom breaks.

"It's not astrophysics. I'm heading towards the locker room to go change T-shirt," Tsitsipas said. "I don't think it would be very nice if I change shorts on the court in front of everybody. I prefer to do that in the locker room, including socks and shoes. I don't think there is anything crazy there. "I'm a person that sweats a bit more than others.

"I think it's acceptable. Some people were teasing me and making fun of this, but it's just how it works for me. People have to understand. I'm not going to stop doing it, because it makes me feel better when I step out on the court to begin the new set."

Tennis Express

Zverev asserts Tsitsipas' absences are more than gamesmanship: the Cincinnati champion charges the Greek with receiving direct coaching from his dad, Apostolos, who was seen on camera texting when his son left the court in Cincinnati. 

"He's gone for 10-plus minutes. His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out, and all of a sudden his tactic completely changed," Zverev said. "It's not just me but everybody saw it. The whole game plan changes.

"I'm like either it's a very magical place he goes to or there is communication there. But I also don't want to disrespect him. He is a great player. He is No. 3 in the world for a reason. He's winning tournaments and playing incredible tennis this year for a reason, so it's not only that."

American Reilly Opelka shot down suggests Tsitsipas is receiving illegal coaching.

"I don't know Tsitsipas, I don't know his situation. I doubt he's getting coached. I highly doubt it," Opelka said.

Opelka believes media is blowing up the bathroom break issue without understanding the New York City swelter can cause so much sweating players can leak water from their shoes.

"I hink it's a ridiculous -- like, I understand it's getting press because tennis is lame and tennis media sucks and they're terrible," Opelka said. "But I think Stefanos Tsitsipas, whatever, it's hot and humid, and for the media, the press that have never stepped foot on a tennis court in their life, have never been in the environment, couldn't last 30 minutes out in this humidity, in this heat.

"It's physical, our sport is. My shoes are dripping, they're leaking sweat. To change or to go after, you know, two sets we're drinking, we're hydrating a lot, we have to use the bathroom. To change my socks, shoes, my inserts in my shoes, shorts, shirt, everything, the whole nine yards, hat, it takes five, six minutes. Then by the time I walk to and from the court."

Photo credit: Getty