Veteran Brit Andy Murray spent nearly five hours at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, coming close to staging a giant upset against the No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas before falling in five sets on opening day at the U.S. Open.
Then the 34-year-old former U.S. Open champion spent nearly five hours ripping Tsitsipas for his delay tactics, saying multiple times it was “nonsense.’’
Tsitsipas took an extended medical timeout after the third set when he trailed 2-1 and wound up roaring back to win the last two sets. The final tally was 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Murray looked ticked off as he briefly shook Tsitsipas’ hand, then walked off muttering. Afterward, Murray said his coaches had told him to ‘expect that’’ from the young Greek foe but it didn’t make it any easier.
Murray said he was angered at several different breaks Tsitsipas took when things were not going his way. He noted shenanigans in the fourth set, too, when Tsitsipas took time to change his racket when Murray was rolling.
“When you’re playing a brutal match like that, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down,’’ Murray said. “You can prepare for it mentally, but it does affect you physically when you take a break that long — multiple times during the match. Every single time it was either — before my serve as well.
“It can’t be coincidence that it’s happening at those moments. I don’t believe it was causing him any issue at all. The match went on for another two and a bit hours after [the medical timeout]. He was fine, moving great. Yeah, it’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match.’’
Murray’s ranking has fallen to 112 as he’s battled injuries the last few years. He won the Open in 2012 and is a three-time Grand Slam champion. He’s a key member of the ATP board and thinks this delay stuff is a issue that needs to be stopped.
“Maybe I’m overreacting to something because I lost the match,’’ Murray said. “But right now sitting here I feel like it’s nonsense and they need to make a change because it’s not good for the sport, it’s not good for TV, it’s not good for fans.”
Indeed, the match dragged on past 7:15 p.m. and several thousand fans were stuck outside, waiting to be let in for the night card.
“I said to [a media PR person], I don’t want to do press tonight because I know I’m going to sit here and it’s going to seem like I’m just smashing him,” Murray said. “Yeah, that’s annoying for me because sounds like sour grapes because you’ve lost a match. I would have said the same thing if I’d won, I promise. It was nonsense, and he knows it.’’
Tsitsipas shrugged off the charges.
“I don’t think I broke any rules,’’ he said.
Murray gave several extended waves to the roaring Ashe crowd as he left the court but gave no indication he’ll never be back.
If he’s not, Murray will always bemoan his slip in the second-set tiebreaker when he was up 5-3 and at the net. He punched back two tough volleys, putting pressure on his opponent. But Murray slipped, he said, because his shoes were wet from sweat and he had to change them.
“I was slipping and was losing balance,’’ Murray said. “Something for me to learn from and in the future make sure that doesn’t happen again. That was my bad.’’