Stefanos Tsitsipas’s long potty breaks have become an international story

Tennis French Open

This afternoon, Stefanos Tsitsipas will play his third-round match at the US Open. As the #3 player in the world, he’s been getting great court assignments, and this will be his third match in a row on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest stage at the Open. His first two matches have been mired in controversy, and it actually has nothing to do with the fact that Stefanos is a giant anti-vaxx dumbass. No, for the past few months, people have been obsessing over the fact that Stefanos has some Tsitsipotty drama.

While players have the option of taking bathroom breaks, especially in between sets, it’s basically an unwritten rule that players should only take three to five minutes, tops. Anything longer, it’s considered gamesmanship and such a lengthy break can change the rhythm of a match and a hot player will “cool down” or worse, stiffen up. Stefanos has been taking eight to ten-minute-long bathroom breaks for months now and other players have begun to call him out on it. Stef played Andy Murray in his first round, and Stef took two lengthy bathroom breaks in that five-set match. Andy was beyond furious, telling the umpire that it was unacceptable, complaining to the tournament supervisor and complaining about Stefanos after the match in the press conference. Then in Stef’s second round… he did the same thing. He took another long bathroom break, and when he returned to the court, the US Open crowd booed him.

Stefanos has said repeatedly that he’s not breaking any rules, and technically he’s right. The bathroom-break rule is soft for a reason, because at different tournaments, the bathrooms might be far away. It’s entirely up to the umpire’s discretion whether or not a player is using the bathroom for an unreasonable amount of time. But with this situation garnering national and international headlines on People Magazine, the NY Times, the Guardian, CNN and more, the Tsitsipotty drama is coming to a head, so to speak. Players are now calling for a rule change and a time limit. Which I think will absolutely happen. They will call it The Tsitsipas Rule too.

Add to all of this, both Alex Zverev (an alleged abuser) and Andy Murray (a mensch) have raised another issue with Stefanos in particular: the idea that he’s going to the bathroom for so long because he’s taking his phone in there and he’s getting coached by his father (who is his coach). This theory has legs, because often Stefanos will return from a bathroom break and he’ll start playing with a new strategy. So yeah…it could absolutely be cheating too. My guess is that Stefanos is just going to keep taking these long-ass breaks until they make a rule change.

Stefanos tried to call out Andy and it blew up in his face. This is embarrassing.

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Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.

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24 Responses to “Stefanos Tsitsipas’s long potty breaks have become an international story”

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  1. smcollins says:

    My husband & I (mostly my husband because he’s the tennis nut) have been watching the Open and, yeah…this is definitely a trend with him, and Murray was beyond pissed. It was a great match regardless and Murray definitely made Tsistipas work for that win. I’ll have to present the phone theory to my husband and see what he thinks of it.

    • Zozi says:

      He is going with transparenτ bag last weeks (after ZVeref accused him, you can see all inside. His breaks are totaly 6 and that happen after RG because of the heat. All bodies are not the same. PLUS: Erik Jonsson
      @erktennis
      “Not to mention this storm was all started by Zverev who now hascompletely shifted the focus of the tennis world from his domestic abuse allegations to something completely trivial. I would have hoped Murray would be able to see through it and not just pile on.”
      And about anti-vaxx when he said he will do when is mandatory the same time Nadal said i willl do when is possible end. Rublev said when is mandatory and medvedev said im not going to answer this question good day. 85% of athletes. (i am vaccinated) Are facts Google helps to do a search.
      Ian sports fun 65 years old, ex athlete now international umpire at track and fields (Olympic games participation), i know about the rules and i know about tactics. He didnt break any rules, people like to talk and gossip and sales more. Ii accuse only ATP because they let things going so far! Thank you.

      • Sof says:

        I think Murray chiming in with Zverev’s theory proves that players have been talking about this for a while. (As I said below, Kyrgios complained about it too, and he is/used to be friends with Stefanos)
        The same happened with Djokovic’s strategy of pretending to be hurt and suddenly recovering by miracle, right?
        Neither of them are breaking rules, but other players have the right to complain about this, particularly if it’s perceived as cheating.

  2. Maria says:

    Maybe he’s taking the dewormer!

  3. hindulovegod says:

    He’s taking his phone with him and they show his father furiously texting during the break. The ATP finally started warning him on his dad’s blatant mid-match coaching so they’re doing this instead. The hypocrisy and misogyny in tennis are making it hard for me to watch. An umpire ruined a final for Serena over movement from her coach that she couldn’t see meanwhile Tsitsipas’s dad is verbally coaching him and texting during matches and he’s not even getting point penalties. Tennis is such a damn mess.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I don’t understand why they’re letting him take his phone in the first place? Even if there was no suspicion of his being coached by his dad (or whoever) wouldn’t it just make sense to tell all of the players ‘no phones allowed’? If nothing else, it would probably shorten the bathroom breaks.
      Tennis really is a mess right now, it’s true.

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        I don’t even follow tennis, and I’m just asking myself why the hell he’d need to take his phone for a quick toilet break??? A phone is not necessary for a pee break.

    • FHMom says:

      WTF would they allow a phone on a bathroom break? Of course he is using it to cheat. I am so glad I stopped watching tennis. It’s too aggravating.

    • Christine says:

      Since his dad is his coach and they suspect this, couldn’t they ban his dad from the match?

  4. Izzy says:

    If a woman pulled any of these shenanigans, she’d be fined and possibly suspended.

    • hindulovegod says:

      Kenin had a similar dynamic with her overbearing coach father and she was raked over the coals (and given plenty of penalties) for it. They don’t even bother to hide the bias.

    • Mireille says:

      If he’s cheating while in the bathroom, he needs to be bounced out of the tournament. Period.

  5. Libellule says:

    I thought phones were not allowed during breaks? If he’s taking it then it should result in some kind of a fine.

  6. A says:

    Between this and the vaxx idiocy, it sounds like he knows how to Tsitsipiss everybody off

  7. SusanRagain says:

    So he is a cheater and an anti-vax idiot.
    No phone rules effective immediately.

  8. CJ says:

    Yea I think no phone would be better than shortening bathroom breaks. That could be awful for any gender to be forced to comply with

  9. Lemons says:

    No tennis player takes this long of breaks if it’s not to cheat. Whether it’s to throw off your opponent or take calls, he’s undoubtedly doing something besides playing tennis to alter the game.

    It’s funny because in junior tournaments, we get like….2 minutes for a bathroom break (sometimes longer if the bathrooms are far). We’re all practically jogging to get to the bathroom and back. This guy knows what he’s doing.

  10. Sof says:

    Kyrgios complained about it during his match too, right? When they told him to place his towels at a designated spot he asked if texting and taking 20 minutes breaks without anyone saying anything was part of the game too. If I’m not mistaken they used to be friends, maybe it changed when Stefanos published Nick’s phone number on social media, what an idiot.

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    No no no no no. This is unacceptable behavior during a match.

  12. Leesa says:

    Somebody get this boy a diaper.

  13. Kathryn says:

    So disappointed in Stefanos. I liked him way better than abuser Zverev. He came across as smart and reflective. But this and the no vaxx status, ugh. And now Medvedev isn’t vaccinated? Another favorite lets me down. Go Tiafoe, Sloane, Barty and Andreescu. Simona too!

    • Another Nina says:

      Medvedev had a covid 3 months ago, so he doesn’t need to be vaccinated at the moment. Plus he is terribly allergic to vaccines, even the ones against children’s diseases, so it’s not his choice unfortunately.

  14. Nic919 says:

    Milos Raonic agreed with Murray as well so I suspect the men all have suspicions about what is going on.

    I’m sticking with my support of Shapo and Auger Aliassime. Felix is just a good guy in general and while Shapo had some issues earlier on he seems to have matured.