US Open: Beaten Andy Murray ‘lost respect’ for Stefanos Tsitsipas after bathroom row

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US Open: Beaten Andy Murray ‘lost respect’ for Stefanos Tsitsipas after bathroom row
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Andy Murray said he had lost respect for Stefanos Tsitsipas in a cheating row over toilet breaks in their first-round match at the US Open.

Murray was left fuming by the world No3’s antics after coming close to pulling off an unlikely upset in a 2-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat with arguably the Briton’s best performance in recent years.

Tsitsipas most notably took an eight-minute toilet break ahead of the deciding fifth set with an angry Murray shouting “he’s cheating” at the lengthy delay before complaining to match supervisor Gerry Armstrong.

Afterwards, Murray said: “It’s not so much leaving the court, it’s the amount of time. It’s disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match. I’m not saying I necessarily win that match 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 stuff like that at all, and I lost respect for him. I think it’s nonsense, and it he knows it as well.”

Tsitsipas also had a toilet break at the end of the second set and a medical timeout for treatment on his foot having just lost the third set.

Following the final eight-minute delay, Murray remonstrated loudly saying: “It’s never taken me that long to go to the bathroom ever.”

 (AP)
(AP)

His 23-year-old opponent’s actions were within the rules and he denied any wrongdoing saying he would speak to Murray in the aftermath of their epic encounter.

“As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair then the rest is fine,” said Tsitsipas, who also denied allegations that in a previous tournament in Cincinnati he had texted his father and coach mid-match while off court. He added: “I had never in my career ever done that.”

The incidents overnight in New York overshadowed what had been an excellent match and a return to the Murray of old, who moved well throughout and showed relatively little fatigue despite the length of the match.

And Murray added: “I don’t think it’s a good look for the players either. I’m sitting 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, but I’m sitting here talking about bathroom breaks and medical timeouts and delays in matches. That’s rubbish. I don’t think that that’s right.”

Because of Tsitsipas’ previous behaviour, the Briton admitted his team had spoken before the match about how to deal with any potential histrionics.

And Murray, who has pushed for changes around player timeouts on the player council, added: “We speak about it all the time about changing these rules, trying to make it less easy for the rules to be exploited I guess.”

 (USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

There was more disappointment for Britain in New York, although in far less controversial circumstances as Cameron Norrie went down 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz.

The 26-year-old British No2 had reached the third round in his previous four Grand Slam events.

But he was beaten in straight sets by US Open debutant Alcaraz, at 18 the youngest man in the world’s top 100.

Nick Kyrgios won just seven games as his campaign came to an end at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut.

Australian Kyrgios threw in his usual tweeners (where the ball is hit between the legs) and underarm serves but Bautista Agut, the18th seed from Spain, ran out a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 winner.

In the women’s draw, defending champion Naomi Osaka got her campaign up and running smoothly with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Marie Bouzkova.

The third seed from Japan allayed any fears about a lack of matches during a turbulent year when she has spoken about her mental health struggles and missed the French Open and Wimbledon.

"It feels kind of crazy to play in front of everyone again," she said.

"Last year when we didn’t have a crowd it felt quite lonely for me. The energy here is unmatched.

"I’ve played a lot of matches on this court, maybe the most in my career and I definitely feel comfortable here."

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