Stefanos Tsitsipas said he did not understand the boos and criticism collected over the locker room break, such as the one that occurred on Wednesday as he qualified for the third round of the US Open, which he considers “important” to the good progress of his matches.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, so I don’t understand. What’s the problem?” asked the Greek, third in the world, after beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-0.
After losing the third set, he went to change in the locker room as the regulations permit and did not return until eight minutes later, being booed by the crowd.
On Monday, it took seven minutes to make the same round trip at Arthur Ashe Stadium, against Andy Murray. The latter, who had fully recovered, subsequently accused him of wanting to break his rhythm, and the German Alexander Zverev also strongly criticized him. Mannarino saw it as an unsportsmanlike exercise.
“That break in the third set allowed me to calm down, as I like to do,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s good for me to be sweating less and feel fresh, to start a new set with a new frame of mind, and to reset.”
The Greek insisted that “I have not broken any rule,” arguing that there is no time limit imposed in the dressing room. “I try to be as fast as possible. Sometimes I just need a little more time. That’s it.”
“If I stay within the guidelines, what is the problem?” he continued.
Despite criticism from his rivals, Tsitsipas asserted that “he has nothing against any player. I never complain about what other players do.”
“I just don’t understand when some people criticize other players. I did everything the right way. If I didn’t, I should be punished. But as far as I know, it’s a need when I’m on the field and playing.”
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