7:27 AM PDT, September 5, 2021
It’s been the talk of tennis: how long is too long when you need to answer the call of nature?
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the third-ranked male player in the world, is under fire today for taking awfully long bathroom breaks during the US Open.
Players are allowed to take a reasonable amount of time for a bathroom break, but the trouble is, tennis rules don’t spell out what that exactly means.
“Sometimes we need a short break to do what we have to do,” Tsitsipas said during a post-match press conference. “I try and be as quick as I can. Sometimes I just need a bit more time.”
The controversy started during a match against Andy Murray. Tsitsipas first took a medical timeout. Then he took two bathroom breaks, lasting nearly eight minutes each.
Murray was furious and didn’t hold back at a press conference following the match.
“I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him,” Murray said.
Later, Murray tweeted, “It takes Stefanos Tsitsipas twice as long to go to the bathroom as it takes Jeff Bezos to fly into space. Interesting.”
Two days later, it happened again — this time in a match with Adrian Mannarino. Seven minutes passed while Tsitsipas disappeared into the bathroom.
Spectators gave him a rousing chorus of boos as he returned to the court.
Tsitsipas also implied it may not have had anything to do with his bladder.
“You feel rejuvenated, you feel fresh, and you don’t have all the sweat bothering you and coming in your face,” he said.
The United States Tennis Association says it is reviewing the rules surrounding bathroom breaks.