'Not normal': Alexander Zverev fumes over 'ridiculous' US Open act

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·Sports Editor
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Alexander Zverev, pictured here after his win over Sam Querrey at the US Open.
Alexander Zverev celebrates after his win over Sam Querrey at the US Open. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Alexander Zverev has continued the condemnation of Stefanos Tsitsipas after his antics against Andy Murray sparked outrage at the US Open.

Zverev, who accused Tsitsipas of getting coaching during a toilet break in Cincinnati last week, went out of his way to hurl a zinger at the Greek star after a first-round triumph in New York on Tuesday.

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After saying top-ranked Novak Djokovic is the favourite, he warned others are playing well, saying: "Daniil is in very good form. Stefanos can play well - if he doesn't go to the moon and back for a toilet break, that will also help. I had to, I'm sorry."

Murray complained about an extended toilet break that Tsitsipas took during their match on Monday, the three-time grand slam-winner noting: "It has never once taken me that long to go to the toilet, ever."

Murray then tweeted on Tuesday, comparing Tsitsipas's seven-minute hiatus with the brief space flight of billionaire Jeff Bezos.

"Fact of the day. It takes Stefanos Tsitipas twice as long to go the bathroom as it takes Jeff Bazos to fly into space. Interesting," he tweeted.

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Nick Kyrgios also brought up bathroom breaks in his loss to Roberto Bautista Agut, wondering why he incurred a time violation for retrieving a towel when there were "20-minute bathroom breaks" by other players.

Tsitsipas defended his actions, saying he follows the ATP rules.

"I'm playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair," said Tsitsipas. 

"I took my clothes with me when I left the court. That's the amount of time it takes for me to change my clothes and to walk back."

Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here after their heated clash at the US Open.
Andy Murray lashed out at Stefanos Tsitsipas after their heated clash at the US Open. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Zverev said that while rules permit such pauses, it's seldom taken to such extremes.

"You are allowed to do that," he said. "But it's like a unwritten rule between players.

"It's happening every match. It's not normal. Against me in Cincinnati was ridiculous and now here again.

"He's one of the best in the world at what he does. I do not believe he needs to do that... 

"These kind of things happen at junior events... but not when you're top three in the world."

Zverev said he still wonders if Tsitsipas received coaching from his father in Cincinnati.

"He's gone for 10-plus minutes. His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out, and all of a sudden his tactic completely changed," the German said.

"Either it's a very magical place he goes to or there is communication there."

Alexander Zverev echoes Andy Murray's criticisms

Murray said he has "lost respect" for Tsitsipas and Zverev agrees.

"I do believe, and Andy said it as well, there is some level of respect that everybody needs to have between players," Zverev said.

"He might just go to the toilet. That's also possible. But it just happens too often, I would say."

American player Reilly Opelka said he understands the need for long breaks because of the hot and humid conditions that often result in clothes being drenched in sweat.

"It's ridiculous," Opelka said. "I understand it's getting press because tennis is lame and tennis media sucks and they're terrible.

"We're hydrating a lot. We have to use the bathroom. To change my socks, shoes, my inserts in my shoes, shorts, shirt, everything, the whole nine yards, hat, it takes five, six minutes. Then by the time I walk to and from the court.

"I don't know Tsitsipas, I don't know his situation. I doubt he's getting coached. Today, I couldn't even take my bag in to change. 

"I'm like, 'Guys, my clothes and shoes are in here. You can come stand in here with me if you want.' I strictly go to change because it's hot and it's humid."

with AFP

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