It wasn’t his opponent’s dazzling foot speed or the velocity of his serve that Andy Murray was still dwelling on a day after his match. The statistic that stuck with Murray, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, was how long his opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, took during his off-court breaks.
“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,” Murray posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning, misspelling both the name of his opponent and the Amazon billionaire, but adding emojis of a toilet and a rocket ship for clarity.
On Monday, the third-seeded Tsitsipas had defeated Murray 2-6, 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that turned early in the fifth set following an off-court break by Tsitsipas. Though two off-court breaks are allowed by the rules during best-of-five-sets matches, Murray was incensed when he saw Tsitsipas leaving the court after the fourth set, which Tsitsipas had won.
“Why are they allowed to do this?” Murray asked chair umpire Nico Helwerth with exasperation. “Why?”
Murray, 34, sat on his bench in Arthur Ashe Stadium, changed his shirt, draped an ice towel over his neck and hydrated, repeatedly glancing toward the court entrance. After a few minutes of sitting and bouncing his legs, Murray rose and wandered behind the baseline, bouncing a ball and hitting it gently against the video wall behind the court.
“What’s your opinion on this?” Murray asked Helwerth. “You’re umpiring the match. Give me an opinion: you think it’s good?” Murray then asked Grand Slam supervisor Gerry Armstrong, “You think this is OK, what’s happening?”
When Tsitsipas finally returned more than seven minutes after the last point had been played, he went to his bench, then walked to a cooler to get a bottle of water. He then sat down on his bench, and Murray shouted “Get up! What’s going on, get up!”
When the fans began to boo, Murray pumped his arms to encourage them.
Murray, still steamed, dropped his serve in the following game, and Tsitsipas held onto that break advantage the rest of the set. Murray said he had been prepared for Tsitsipas to take long breaks if the match wasn’t going his way, for which he believed Tsitsipas had a reputation.
“It’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match,” Murray said. “I’m not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had influence on what was happening after those breaks. I rate him a lot. I think he’s a brilliant player. I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”
Told of Murray’s comments, Tsitsipas, 23, said he hoped to speak to him directly.
“If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak, the two of us, to understand what went wrong,” Tsitsipas said. “I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by