Tennis dawdler Stefanos Tsitsipas doubled down on his rule-bending mid-match bathroom breaks as he reached the third round of the US Open with another controversial performance.

The third seed won as a serious rainstorm pounded the closed roof of the Ashe court, creating a flood emergency in New York City as the Greek took his sweet time in a bathroom break.

Tsitsipas has stretched the definition of the legally allowed “break” to includes a change of clothes – with suspicions persisting that he could be getting coaching help via text from his father in  the stands while he is away from the court.

The issue has blown up this year, with the 23-year-old standing his ground and insisting he is merely exploiting the rule to its full benefit – and he never fails to mentions that he tends to sweat a lot.

“The rules are there to be followed, no?,” he said after defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-0. He swept the fourth set after returning refreshed from his extended six-minute pause which left his opponent waiting on the court.

“If I break a rule, sure, I’m guilty. I agree,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m not doing something right. If I’m staying within the guidelines, then what’s the issue?”

As was the case in the first round against Andy Murray, Tsitsipas was jeered by fans as he walked off.  

But the player took little notice: ” I haven’t done anything wrong, so I don’t understand. The people love the sport, they come to watch tennis. 

“I have nothing against them, but some people don’t understand. That’s all. They haven’t played tennis at high level to understand how much effort and how much difficult it is to do what we are doing. 

“Sometimes we need a short break to do what we have to do.”

As was the case when he pulled his habitual disappearing act in the first round, Tsitsipas defending his increasingly annoying practice of leaving the court at key moments.

“I never complain of what other players do, my parents have taught me not to watch other people’s business, and concentrate on myself, do my job.

“I just don’t understand when some players go and criticise other players. 

“I’ve done everything the right way. If I haven’t, I should be penalised. I completely agree with it. But it is a necessity, it is a need when I’m out there playing.”

Tsitsipas got a helping hand from a tournament bureaucrat nominally in charge of the post-match media session, with the functionary trying to halt continued questioning regarding the bathroom break saga.

“I’m going allow the question but we’re not going to belabor this. He answered this now,” the official said as questions on the topic continued for another minute.

Main photo:- Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to the third round – courtesy USTA


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