Stefanos Tsitsipas defended himself after controversy over bathroom breaks at the US Open. Credit: ITF – International Tennis Federation / Twitter
Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas is out of the US Open after a loss to Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz, in what was a major upset and possibly the greatest win of Alcaraz’s career so far.
The five-round match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City was a thriller, with a final score of 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6 for Alcaraz, who is just 18 years old.
Tsitsipas, 23, acknowledged the incredible talent of his opponent during a press conference on Saturday, stating that he had “never seen someone hit the ball so hard,” and that Alcaraz could be “a contender for Grand Slam titles.”
Greek tennis star argues that he did not break any rules despite controversy over bathroom breaks
In addition to the crushing defeat for Tsitsipas, the Greek player faced a wave of accusations and allegations of rule breaking after he took long, well-timed bathroom breaks during the match with Alcaraz and in his previous match with Andy Murray.
The crowd even booed Tsitsipas for going to the bathroom during the game with the young Spaniard at the US Open. In response to the criticism, the Greek player insisted that he had not broken any rules:
“I took my toilet break as a normal athlete…might have taken a bit longer than other athletes. But if there is a rule that says there’s a specific amount of time that you are allowed to take, then I would probably try and follow that protocol and stay within the guidelines.”
The Grand Slam rule book just says players should take a “reasonable” amount of time, but does not provide an exact number of minutes that would be acceptable.
Some people argued that Tsitsipas used the bathroom breaks to regain some strength during the game or even psych out his opponent.
Yet the Greek athlete argued that he was simply changing his clothes, stating “the only thing I did is change from wet clothes to dry clothes. Apparently it’s a huge issue.”
Tsitsipas argued that other players, without mentioning names, had blatantly broken rules regarding time between play, and were never called out on it.
Watch Tsitsipas’ full press conference remarks below:
“So I don’t know why everyone is suddenly against me,” Tsitsipas stated.
The crowd clearly had a preference during the game, as they jeered Tsitsipas and even chanted “Carlos” during breaks.
When asked about fan support during matches, the tennis star acknowledged that while it is “important” to have good energy from spectators, “it doesn’t matter” when he’s playing, because he “just needs to go out there and perform.”
Tsitsipas among top three tennis players in the world
Tsitsipas reached a career high in early August, when he officially ranked among the top three tennis players in the world, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).
Tsitsipas, 23, became the third best in his sport, overtaking Spanish great Rafael Nadal, who lost at a match in Washington, DC on August 6.
Currently, Serbian player Novak Djokovic ranks first in the world, and Daniil Medvedev of Russia is second, according to the ATP rankings.
Reflecting on his new position among tennis greats, Tsitsipas stated to ATP Tour that it is “a huge motivation and a very good indication that I’ve done great so far.”