Toni Nadal has waded into the row around Stefanos Tsitsipas and his bathroom breaks at the US Open, writing in El Pais that Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal “would never” use such tactics to win.
Tsitsipas found himself at the centre of a storm following his first-round win over Andy Murray, with the Brit accusing his opponent of cheating and saying he had “lost respect” for the world number three.
The Greek took lengthy toilet breaks at the end of the second and fourth sets of the match at the US Open, both of which lasted for over seven minutes. He also required a medical time out during the match.
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Tsitsipas was then booed by the crowd when he took another prolonged toilet break during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino. After that match he said: “If I break a rule, sure, I’m guilty. I agree; I’m not doing something right. If I’m staying within the guidelines, then what’s the issue?”
Tennis rules allow for a “reasonable” toilet break without setting a specific guideline, leading to accusations that Tsitsipas’s conduct is not within the spirit of the law, even if it doesn’t breach the wording of it.
Rafael Nadal’s Uncle Toni, who coached the Spaniard to greatness, says the true icons of the sport would not behave in the same way.
“I think that no follower of our sport can imagine Roger Federer or Rafael, I don’t see why not say it, looking for extra-sporting shortcuts to achieve victory,” Toni wrote.
“The way he [Tsitsipas] acted was not fair. Rafa or Federer would never do that. Stricter rules should be implemented for the bathroom breaks.
“Tsitsipas is undoubtedly a brilliant player and as such we expect him to win without the need for any ruse that he can profit from,” the Spaniard continued.
“Obviously you don’t need them. A great champion, and he is on the way to achieve it, not only because of his victories but because of how he achieves them.”
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