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New rules coming? ATP reportedly reviewing changes to bathroom breaks, medical timeouts
"I hope that before the next season begins in January, we will have a stricter rule," an unnamed official told Reuters.
Published Sep 18, 2021
TC Live: Toilet Gate at Flushing Meadows
Ongoing debates have been brewing for many seasons about two topics: toilet breaks and medical timeouts. From players to fans, there are widespread concerns that lenient rules are used to gain an advantage during play.
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the center of attention on both issues during his Cincinnati and US Open appearances. While the Grand Slam rule book says that players can take a “reasonable” amount of time, the likes of Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev felt that Tsitsipas exceeded that.
According to Reuters, an unnamed ATP official says the men’s tour is reviewing guidelines, which currently do not require players to start play within a specific time.
"There will be a change to the rules," their source said. "I hope that before the next season begins in January, we will have a stricter rule.
"I think it's getting to the point where it's definitely becoming a big issue. It's been an issue for a long time but we are taking quite a serious approach now to try and change it."
However, some of the biggest names in the sport came to defend Tsitsipas, including Novak Djokovic.
“I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. I support him,” the world No. 1 told press at the US Open. “The rule is not clear… I think he didn’t deserve that much attacks that he was getting in the media from everyone.”
Though ATP and Grand Slam events have their own code, in general players are allowed up to two bathroom or clothing change breaks in a best-of-five match, and can call the trainer once for each individual injury. Trainers have no time limits for injury evaluation, though only three minutes are allowed for treatment.
Additional reporting from Kamakshi Tandon.