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The ATP and UTSA announced Thursday that they plan to review the rules surrounding match delays in response to Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has come under fire this week for unusually long bathroom breaks at the U.S. Open.
The UTSA said in a statement that it would be reviewing the current policy on game delays in response to Tsitsipas’ first- and second-round matches at the U.S. Open, where he was criticized for the length and timing of his bathroom breaks and medical timeouts.
“We need to continue to review and explore potential adjustments to the rules, whether for bathroom breaks/change of attire or other areas, that can positively impact the pace of play for our fans and ensure the fairness and integrity of the game,” the statement read, via the BBC.
ATP released a separate statement saying that a review of the rules has been a “focus” recently.
“Review of rules around toilet breaks, in addition to medical time outs, has been an area of focus in recent months,” ATP said. “This remains work in progress…the assessment process involves extensive consultation with our members and other constituents.”
Call for changes began during Monday night’s match between Tsitsipas and Andy Murray.
Murray expressed his frustrations after several ill-timed game delays, telling a supervisor on the court, “What’s he doing in there? It’s never taken me that long to go to the toilet, ever.”
After losing the match, Murray said it wasn’t the issue of taking the breaks as much as the length of the delays. He also said there was no “coincidence” when Tsitsipas decided to call for a delay.
“It’s not so much leaving the court. It’s the amount of time,” he said. “When you’re playing a brutal match like that, you know, stopping for seven, 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, well, multiple times during the match.”
He continued: “It’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match … I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”
Tsitsipas took another eight-minute break in his second-round match Wednesday which prompted Sloane Stephens, who is a member of the WTA players council, to call for a rules change.
“They make a lot of rule changes for smaller things, like, they took one minute off the warmup,” she said. “I think there definitely needs to be a rule or changes.”
Tsitsipas has maintained that he is following the rules — which is technically true. The Grand Slam rule book just says players should take a “reasonable” amount of time but does not describe what the appropriate amount of time should be.
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