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Tsitsipas, Murray Battle on The Tennis Court And in The Interview Room on Day 1 at U.S. Open

By Ricky Dimon

There was never going to be any love lost between Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas in their first-round match at the U.S. Open on Monday. Among their differences is Covid-19 philosophy; Tsitsipas doesn’t have the vaccine and has no plans to get it, while Murray is a staunch proponent of vaccination. About the only thing they have in common is being unafraid to give their respective teams the business when things aren’t going well on the court.

Monday’s meeting only increased the tension level.

In between the fourth and fifth sets of his 2-6, 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory that lasted four hours and 49 minutes, Tsitsipas took a 10-minute bathroom break. Following the resumption of play, Murray was in a foul mood throughout the decider–frequently voicing his frustration to courtside referee Gerry Armstrong.

On the heels of his tough loss, the 34-year-old Scot continued to seeth–this time in the interview room.

“It’s not so much leaving the court; it’s the amount of time,” he explained. “I spoke to my team before the match about it and said to expect that — prepare for it if things were not going his way. So I was trying to do that. But the issue is that you cannot stop the way that that affects you physically. When you’re playing a brutal match like that, stopping for seven (or) eight minutes, you do cool down. You can prepare for it mentally as much as you like, but it’s the fact that it does affect you physically when you take a break that long multiple times during the match.

“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 (an) 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 that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”

This isn’t the first time ever–not even the first time this summer, in fact–that Tsitsipas has been embroiled in bathroom-break controversy. While the Greek was off the court for another extended period of time in the Cincinnati semifinals, eventual champion Alexander Zverev publicly called him out for using his cell phone to text his father for coaching advice in between sets.

“I have never in my career done that,” Tsitsipas said following his defeat of Murray. “I don’t know what kind of imagination it takes to go to that point. That’s not something I want to take seriously because it’s absolutely ridiculous to be thinking about that.”

As for Murray’s comment about losing respect, the 23-year-old would prefer to hash things out in person instead of through the media.

“If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak the two of us to kind of understand what went wrong,” Tsitsipas concluded. “I don’t think I broke any rules; I played by the guidelines. Yeah, definitely something for both of us to kind of chat about and make sure. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority. As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Note • Stef man what are you doing? Please grow up and stop the gamesmanship. Win on your merits not on pissing  off your opponents (LJ)