Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas has defeated former US Open champion Andy Murray at the first round of the 2021 US Open men’s singles competition. Tsitsipas– the third seed at the US Open– and Murray battled to the end in a rapturous match at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.
Murray and Tsitsipas were at each other’s throats by the end of the game, which was rife with tension and aggression from both players. Tsitsipas eventually overcame his British opponent, however, winning with 2-6, 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after nearly five hours.
The source of the conflict was Tsitsipas’ long bathroom breaks. After the Greek player’s second break during the end of the fourth set, Murray became enraged, complaining to the supervisor Gerry Armstrong of what he called “cheating.” Tistsipas had a similar incident during a match in Cincinnati, Ohio where he took his entire game bag to the bathroom with him, leading some to speculate he was texting his father and coach Apostolos.
Tsitsipas’s break lasted eight minutes, and led Murray to comment that “It’s never taken me that long to go to the toilet.” Tsitsipas was also suffering from a mild foot injury and receiving medical attention in between sets.
But ultimately it was Tsitsipas’s quality that won him the match in New York on Monday. Although Murray started off strong with a whopping serve that took even Tsitsipas by surprise, the Greek came back during the third set with a better serve, and began to dominate the game with his forehand. The game ultimately resulted in a tiebreak set where Tsitsipas took the match.
Murray commented that he “lost respect for [Tsitsipas]” in a press conference following the match.
Tsitsipas reveals he has not received the vaccine ahead of 2021 US Open appearance
Tsitsipas revealed he had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 less than two weeks before the 2021 US Open. The world no.3 player said that he hasn’t even received his first dose of a vaccine and is waiting for it to be mandated for all players on tour, caused strong reactions in Greece and the tennis world.
Adonis Georgiadis, the Greek Minister for Development and Investment, said he has “saddened” by the announcement.
“Tsitsipas is a model athlete whose thoughts and behavior affects a lot of people,” Georgiadis noted.
Leading tennis coach Brad Gilbert labelled Tsitsipas’ stance on the vaccine “very selfish.” Grand Slam winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have expressed the importance of vaccination in the fight to get out of the pandemic.
“The only way out of this nightmare is vaccination. Our responsibility as human beings is to accept it,” Nadal said.
“I know there is a percentage of people who will suffer from side effects, but the effects of the virus are worse.”