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Alexander Zverev doubles down on his criticism of Stefanos Tsitsipas' toilet breaks, says "these kind of things happen at junior events"

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Alexander Zverev
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Alexander Zverev
ANALYST

The conversation surrounding Stefanos Tsitsipas' frequent - and unusually lengthy - toilet breaks seems to be far from over, as fellow players and mediapeople continue to pitch in their two cents.

A spate of top names, including 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, have spoken on the issue since Andy Murray's initial furore. The Scot was visibly frustrated at the end of his first-round encounter against Tsitsipas, and during his presser he reflected negatively on the Greek's toilet breaks.

Alexander Zverev is the latest to add to the discussion. During his press conference after beating Sam Querrey in the first round, Zverev doubled down on some of his earlier accusations against Tsitsipas.

The German first took a jibe at his fellow Next Gen star while answering a question about possible challengers for Novak Djokovic at this year's US Open. Zverev stated Tsitsipas can play well "if he doesn't go to the moon and back for a toilet break", in an obvious reference to the Greek's recent on-court behavior.

"I think Stefanos can play well if he doesn't go to the moon and back for a toilet break, that will also help (smiling)," Zverev said. "I had to, I'm sorry."

On being asked to elaborate on his comments, Zverev claimed the first-round match against Murray wasn't the first time that Tsitsipas had taken a long toilet break.

"It's happening every match. It's not normal," Zverev said. "It happened to me in the French Open, to Novak at the finals of the French Open. You know, I think in Hamburg against Krajinovic he was complaining, against me in Cincinnati was ridiculous, and now here again. I think players are catching up on that."

Zverev further suggested that Tsitsipas, despite being one of the best players in the world, was acting like a junior. The Olympic champion added that even though there was no law about the duration of toilet breaks, there was still "an unwritten rule" that was followed by the players.

He finished by asserting that he believes in winning or losing by "playing tennis on the tennis court".

"He's one of the best in the world at what he does," Zverev said. "I do not believe that he needs to do that, because if you're top three in the world, you're one of the best in the sport. These kind of things happen at junior events, at futures, at Challengers maybe, but not when you're top three in the world."
"You are allowed to do that, but it's like a unwritten rule between players," he continued. "I go insane sometimes and all that, but one thing I'm very proud of, and I will keep it for the rest of my career, is I win and lose by playing tennis on the tennis court."

"Either it's a very magical place Stefanos Tsitsipas goes to or there is communication there" - Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open.
Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open.

Alexander Zverev also repeated his accusations from the Cincinnati event last week, where he had claimed Stefanos Tsitsipas receives coaching from his father Apostolos Tsitsipas during the toilet breaks.

During their Cincinnati semifinal match, the German had objected to Tsitispas carrying his bag - with all his belongings including his phone - off court to the toilet. He revisited his claims on Tuesday, saying that his opponent was gone for a long time and had completely changed his tactics on returning to the court.

"He's gone for 10-plus minutes," Zverev said. "His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out, and all of a sudden his tactic completely changed. It's not just me but everybody saw it. The whole game plan changes. I'm like either it's a very magical place he goes to or there is communication there."

Zverev later tried to underplay his comments, adding that while he did not mean to disrespect Tsitsipas, there was a certain level of respect he expects from his opponents.

"I also don't want to disrespect him," the German said. "He is a great player. He is No. 3 in the world for a reason. He's winning tournaments and playing incredible tennis this year for a reason, so it's not just that."
"But I do believe, and Andy said it, as well, there is some level of respect that everybody needs to have between players," he added. "I feel like, yeah, sometimes - or he might just go to the toilet. We don't know that. That's also possible. But it just happens too often, I would say."

Edited by Musab Abid

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