Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray is calling for a change to tennis rules following his first-round loss at the US Open on Monday, which he blamed on his opponent's strategic breaks. Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas was down two sets to one when he took "an opportune medical timeout" to receive treatment on his left foot, per ESPN. The No. 3 seed won the next set, then took a bathroom break lasting almost 8 minutes, returning to the court to claim the fifth and final set in the 5-hour marathon match, per USA Today.
At a press conference, Murray said his team had told him to expect strategic timeouts from Tsitsipas "if things weren't going his way." The Scot said he'd tried to prepare mentally, but couldn't stop the physical effects. "When you're playing a brutal match like that, you know, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down," said the 34-year-old. He noted Tsitsipas, 23, didn't appear to be dealing with "any [medical] issue at all." "It's just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match," he added. Tsitsipas said he'd changed his clothes in the bathroom but didn't break any rules. There's no time limit on bathroom breaks, per Reuters.
Still, Tsitsipas took another 8-minute bathroom break in his semifinal match against Alexander Zverev at the Cincinnati Open on Aug. 21. Zverev alleged his opponent was receiving coaching advice through his cell phone. "This was the same thing in Paris and is going to be the same thing every other tournament he's playing," he told the umpire, per USA Today. Murray said there needs to be a rule change because of abuse of breaks. However, the Washington Post notes that Murray himself took an opportune bathroom break en route to his first Grand Slam win at the 2012 US Open. The Post also collects this quote from Murray about the controversy: “It’s never once taken me that long to go to the toilet, ever." (Read more tennis stories.)