Stefanos Tsitsipas slams Alexander Zverev for ‘most ridiculous thing’ in new US Open feud

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Stefanos Tsitsipas has found himself embroiled in another feud over his off-court antics. The third seed was accused of “cheating” by Andy Murray during their US Open first-round clash as he took a lengthy bathroom break before winning the fifth and final set. He also came under fire for leaving the court with his bag in Cincinnati while playing Alexander Zverev, and has since hit back at the German following accusations he was receiving coaching through his phone.

Tsitsipas has been the centre of controversy at the US Open for his prolonged off-court breaks.

Murray slammed the world No 3 and said he “lost respect” for him following their opening match in Flushing Meadows, after the Greek left the court for eight minutes and also disrupted games to call the trainer and change his racket at moments the Brit thought were “not a coincidence”.

The third seed then added fuel to the fire as he took another trip to the toilet during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino, clocking in almost eight minutes off-court once again before winning the fourth and final set 6-0.

Alexander Zverev joined in the criticism of the Greek, siding with Murray and calling his rival out for using the lengthy bathroom breaks as a tactic in previous matches, including once against him recently in Cincinnati.

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When asked for his opinion on the matter earlier this week, he said: “It’s not normal, it’s happening every match.

“It happened to me in the French Open, to Novak at the finals at 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.”

During their semi-final clash at the Western & Southern Open last month, Tsitsipas took his bag with him as he went off-court for a bathroom break and Zverev hit back at the umpire for allowing it, accusing the Roland Garros runner-up of receiving coaching through his phone while in the toilet, as his father and coach Apostolos could be seen texting.

The recent Olympic gold medallist then backtracked and said he didn’t want to slam Tsitsipas but did agree that the rules needed to change after the 23-year-old took a second break against Mannarino.

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“I’m not going to talk bad about anybody anymore, because I have been talked bad about for a very long time and it’s not a great feeling. I don’t want to do that,” he said.

“I think there needs to be some adjustments in some rules by the ATP. But it does get frustrating for you if you just won a set and then somebody walks off for 10-plus minutes or whatever.

“I don’t want to be negative anymore, and I have said everything I said. I said it in my first-round press conference. I don’t know what else to add.”

He also backed Murray’s point that the breaks “influence the outcome of the match”, allowing enough time for the body to cool down.

Zverev continued: “I did see that he went off again yesterday, which I found – yeah, I think you guys can’t imagine how we as players we find that, and then he wins the next set 6-0, because I think Mannarino’s back got a little bit stiff or something.

“And that’s happened, because as Andy also said, in six minutes, seven minutes in professional sports, in a high-intense match, your body does cool down. It’s very difficult to come back and play on the same level as you did if you’re just sitting down for six, seven, eight, nine minutes, or ten-plus minutes. So it’s from a physical standpoint sometimes it’s not that easy.”

Tsitsipas later hit back at the German and slammed his accusations of receiving coaching in Cincinnati as “ridiculous”, saying the comments were a bigger reflection of Zverev than of himself.

“Look, I’m not pretending that everyone loves me. I don’t want to be – my intentions are not to be loved by anyone,” he said.

“I felt that way, but I kind of have ignored it. Because people don’t know, that’s the thing. When people are not really in the sport and don’t know what’s happening. I mean, all these accusations have been completely false.

“The one in my match in Cincinnati, which was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. Yeah, that was – I don’t know what to say. I mean, that really shows the level of the person that said it.”

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