'Cheating' scandal 'should have been dealt with'

2 weeks ago 10
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Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge says there's no way to justify the length of the bathroom breaks taken by Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The issue exploded during Tsitsipas' first round win over Andy Murray at the US Open, with the Scot saying he'd "lost respect" for the number three seed, who at one stage took an eight minute toilet break. At one point Murray accused Tsitsipas of "cheating", although he later backed away from those claims.

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Murray said after the match he expected Tsitsipas to employ such tactics, noting that it was openly discussed in the locker room that the Greek star took advantage of the rules.

"I rate him a lot. I think he's a brilliant player. I think he's great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him," Murray said.

Woodbridge conceded that while Tsitsipas hadn't done anything illegal, the game needed to crack down on the issue.

"I don't think there's any way to justify what he's done. He's played within the rules, but the rules need to be changed," Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports.

Andy Murray argues with supervisor Gerry Armstrong as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes a bathroom break. (Getty)

"It's fascinating that this has been highlighted by Tsitsipas, because this is not new. It's something that has been blatantly overused on the WTA Tour for years.

"It's interesting that it's taken one of the men to have used the rule to their advantage to highlight the issue."

Woodbridge said he's expecting the governing body to take a stand on the issue, but questioned why the problem hadn't been sorted out before now.

"It will be the catalyst for change, but this should have been dealt with by the WTA years ago, and ultimately the ITF, who oversee the rules of the game," he said.

"It can easily be adjusted, players have always adjusted to new rules, like shot clocks and shorter warm-ups.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to the second round at the US Open. (Getty)

"If you need to go and change your kit, which is basically what Tsitsipas is doing, you should be able to do that in three minutes, it doesn't take eight minutes to change your shirt and shorts and socks."

Alexander Zverev went a step further than simply complaining about the length of time Tsitsipas was taking, accusing Tsitsipas of receiving coaching via text messages during bathroom breaks, an allegation dismissed by coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

"First of all, it's important to say it's not cheating," he told ESPN.

"When you play by the rules, it's not cheating. Of course, he's not taking his phone, this is completely ridiculous.

"Most of the time he doesn't even have his phone with him, he leaves the phone at the hotel because he's not on social media, and he's not interested in those things."

Patrick Mouratoglou (AAP)

Mouratoglou denied the breaks were a tactic to disrupt Tsitsipas' opponents.

"What does he do? Simple, he needs to reset," he explained.

"I can understand that players don't like it, I completely understand, and maybe if I was playing against him I would also be annoyed. But again, he doesn't do that to annoy the opponent, he does it because it is good for him.

"When Rafa takes a lot of time between the serves, he doesn't do that to annoy the opponent, he does it because it's good for him. Players do what is good for them, they don't do it to annoy the other players.

"Is it too long? It's probably too long. The ATP has to make a rule, so it's three minutes, or five minutes, and all the players have to stick to that."

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