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'I Lost Respect for Him': Controversy Erupts as Murray Accuses Tsitsipas of Cheating at US Open

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Andy Murray of Great Britain after a 5th set miss to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center.
© REUTERS / Robert Deutsch

This is not the first time World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas has been caught in a controversy in 2021. Earlier, he had angered the Greek government for his views against taking COVID-19 vaccines and spreading anti-vaccine theories in the country.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has blasted French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, questioning the Greek star's gamesmanship before blaming his "nonsense" stalling tactics for his defeat in the first round of the US Open on Monday.

Murray, who dominated the first half of the match as he led Tsitsipas two sets to one, even declared that he had "lost respect" for the 23-year-old Athens born player, calling his extended toilet breaks "cheating".

Murray was left fuming by Tsitsipas after he took an eight-minute bathroom break minutes before the start of the decisive fifth set.

Earlier the Brit was angered when Tsitsipas called for the trainer to examine his foot before taking a medical timeout after Murray claimed the third set.

The lengthy break hurt Murray's momentum, who was dominating the proceedings at that juncture as he lost his serve during the initial phase of the fourth set.

Subsequently, Tsitsipas found his range as he levelled the match at two sets all before sealing a 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 2012 US Open winner in four hours and 39 minutes.

"I lost respect for him", Andy Murray said in his post match press conference. "Do you think that's normal? Do you think it's totally fine? I think it's nonsense and he knows it as well".

"When you're playing a brutal match like that, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down", Murray added. "You can prepare for it mentally, but it does affect you physically when you take a break that long — multiple times during the match. Every single time it was either — before my serve as well".

Murray reiterated that it wasn't just mere coincidence that Tsitsipas took all those breaks either when he was physically tired or was trailing him in the match.

"It can't be coincidence that it's happening at those moments. I don't believe it was causing him any issue at all. The match went on for another two and a bit hours after [the medical timeout]. He was fine, moving great. Yeah, it's just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match", Murray concluded.

However, Tsitsipas rubbished Murray's allegations, claiming whatever he did was, according to the rules of the ATP.

"I don't think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines and how everything is. It's definitely something for both of us to kind of chat about because I don't know how my opponent feels when I'm out there playing the match. It's not really my priority. I'm playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, so the rest is fine".

Tsitsipas' antics and Murray's tirade against him reverberated in the tennis world, with several former players, including former World No. 1 John McEnroe sharing their opinions about the ugly episode.

While McEnroe acknowledged that the Greek star took long breaks, Australia's doubles great Todd Woodbridge called on the ATP, WTA, and the four Grand Slams to make sweeping changes to the rules regarding breaks in tennis.

Toilet breaks and medical timeouts have remained a controversial topic in tennis. Numerous players have made complaints in the past, accusing their opponents of taking undue advantage of these breaks to recharge themselves, especially when the matches go long and become excessively physical.

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