Novak Djokovic hauled into Stefanos Tsitsipas row after Rafael Nadal’s uncle took aim

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Stefanos Tsitspas’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has responded to Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni, after he slammed the Greek star’s controversial toilet break during his fourth round US Open defeat. And he has now hauled Novak Djokovic into the debate with the world No 1 going in search of history at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal’s uncle, and former coach took aim at Tsitsipas after the 23-year-old took a seven-minute toilet break during his five-set defeat to young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, an act Toni believed to be ‘unfair’ and something that would never be done by his nephew, or former world No 1 Roger Federer.

Tsitspas’ break in the fourth round was not the first time he had embroiled himself in toilet break controversy, as the world No. 3 received similar backlash for similar stoppages in the first, and second round wins over Andy Murray and Adrian Mannarino.

Addressing the break controversy the former Spanish coach said: “I think that no follower of our sport can imagine Roger Federer or Rafael, I don’t see why not say it, looking for extra-sporting shortcuts to achieve victory.

“The way he [Tsitsipas] acted was not fair. Rafa or Federer would never do that. Stricter rules should be implemented for the bathroom breaks.”

Since then however, the Greek’s coach Mouratoglou has jumped to the defence of the world No 3, explaining his stoppages are within the rules of the game and that they were inspired by three-time US Open champion, Djokovic.

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Defending the 23-year-old, the coach commented: “When he lost his Roland Garros final he was two sets to love up. Djokovic took a toilet break, came back and then it was a different match. He learned from that.

“He didn’t learn that Djokovic broke his rhythm. He found out that Djokovic took time for himself in the locker room and was able to reset and come back different. He learned that, tried it and it worked out for him. That’s why he continues to do it.”

The timing of Tsitsipas’ break during his fourth round clash came after losing the third set to the Spanish starlet, and his long delay was eventually greeted by a whole host of booing from the New York crowd. 

However, coach Mouratoglou believes the hostile treatment from the Flushing Meadows support was unjust, explaining the Greek needed the break to refocus on the task at hand.

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The 51-year-old said: “When a player takes a toilet break, he takes a toilet break most of the time not because he needs the toilet but because it is a moment for him to reset and to refocus. Most of the time he’s lost the set. He needs to calm down, be alone and be within himself to find himself a solution and that is the only thing that Stefanos does.”

Despite backing his player’s lengthy stoppage, Mouratoglou did offer a solution to deter players from taking extended breaks during matches, proposing the idea of time cap on breaks during matches.

He added: “I’ve always said that I think tennis is too long. I am not gonna say that a toilet break of six minutes is not too long. I think it should be three minutes, maybe five maximum. I have been complaining about these toilet breaks for a long time.

“I think there has to be a rule and I really wish the ATP, WTA and ITF set up a rule which means how long a toilet break should be and the problem is solved.”

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