Stefanos Tsitsipas was engulfed in a controversy after he took a long bathroom break during his semi-final loss to Alexander Zverev in the Western and Southers Open in Cincinnati on Saturday. After losing the first set, Tsitsipas walked off the court with his entire kit bag, much to the annoyance of Zverev, who later alleged that Tsitsipas might be getting illegal coaching. During Tsitsipas’ eight-minute break, his father-coach Apostolos was also seen texting on his phone. However, Tsitsipas has made a clarification on the matter and said that he took the break just to change his clothes.
“I have already said it. Nothing crazy. It’s not astrophysics. I’m heading towards the locker room to go change my T-shirt. I don’t think it would be very nice if I change shorts on the court in front of everybody. I prefer to do that in the locker room, including socks and shoes,” he explained.
“I’m a person that sweats a bit more than others. I think it’s acceptable. Some people were teasing me and making fun of this, but it’s just how it works for me,” he said. “People have to understand. I’m not going to stop doing it, because it makes me feel better when I step out on the court to begin the new set.
Tsitsipas wanted to take a second break as well but was denied the same by the chair umpire, saying he has used up his quota of breaks. As per the rules, the players can take only one bathroom break during the match. However, Tsitsipas, who was not happy with the decision, said he needed to change the clothes as he was sweating to a point where he could no longer hold his racket.
“Look, the referee doesn’t have the best reputation on tour among players. I wanted to go change in the third set, because I was pouring wet. Couldn’t even hold my racquet,” Tsitsipas said.
“The referee decided not to give me that break that I really wanted to go change clothes and change all of my wet clothes that, you know, weren’t ideal for me to continue at that third set.”