Mats Wilander has offered his support to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the furore over stoppages and lengthy comfort breaks during his five-set win over Andy Murray at the US Open.
Tsitsipas was involved in three such incidents during the 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 win over Murray, culminating in an eight-minute off-court break ahead of the fifth set.
And Murray made his views on the issue clear, saying that he had “lost respect” for Tsitsipas over the apparent tactical nature of the breaks.
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But Eurosport pundit and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander says that Tsitsipas’ antics are just part of the game.
"All the top players always something that stretches the rules, not intentionally, but they go about their business, they are in the moment,” Wilander said.
Nadal sometimes takes too long, Djokovic takes a few injury time outs, McEnroe was screaming, Connors did his thing – it’s what champions do.
"Tsitsipas does sweat and sweat, so he does need to go and change his shorts, underwear, shirt – I guess some people can do that in seven minutes, some people take a little longer.
“I don’t feel Andy showed inexperience because he has played for so long, but he got so irritated, he wasn’t moving around, maybe he could have hit a few serves. Maybe he was too much in the moment somehow and it irritated him – you just can’t let that happen.
“Tsitsipas was in the moment. Murray may have been too involved in the moment. I’m not too sure it would have made a difference in the end."
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Murray’s performance was one of the best in many years from the injury-hit Brit.
The 34-year-old looked close to back to his best during the five-set epic against the world number three, and Wilander says that it is a clear indication that Murray is still a force in the game.
"It was one of those matches that I was positively surprised that he was as good as he was,” Wilander said. You also reminisce when you watch him play like he did today and think wow, he is such a great player.
“I think in the end he most probably lost it because he hasn’t played enough of these matches. I feel he got a little irritated, I don’t know if it affected him.
"Was he good enough to win the match? In the end, no. But certainly he is on his way – he is playing good enough to keep on going, keep training and then these matches will make him a better player again because he is very close.
“Andy Murray could have won that match with a little bit of luck, but that’s the difference. He used to win these matches, but now he just needs a few more these types of matches.
“What he has told the younger generation is that he’s not done, he is training well enough, he is strong enough, five sets on Arthur Ashe against Stefanos Tsitsipas is pretty awesome.
"He looked good until the very end. You can’t train for these matches, you have to play them often. You have to play four, five, maybe ten of them a year – two in each major minimum to get ready for them."
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