Break time in tennis matches is being abused for many different purposes
Tennis is known as a speed sport, shown by the sprinting up the net or the situation turn around. But now, the pace is slowing down because of the most basic human needs: rest time in the bathroom.
With games lasting more than an hour and a half, players sometimes need that, but too much frequency will disrupt the appeal as well as reduce the excitement of the players, the audience on the field and both watch live broadcast.
In the first round of the US Open 2019, Stefanos Tsitsipas left the yard to the bathroom in the middle of the set 3 in the match that lasted approximately four hours. While the Greek player was inside, on the field, rival Andrey Rublev paced under the baseline with restlessness. It took up to six minutes for the match to continue.
Also in the first match in New York, Coco Gauff and Anastasia Potapova had to go to the bathroom for about two minutes before they went to set 3 together.
Two weeks before the US Open, during a match at the Cincinnati Masters, Nick Kyrgios left the yard in the bathroom after being fined for arguing and cursing by the referee. Staff of the tournament organizers (required to follow) saw the Australian player break two racquets in the hallway and return immediately without ever entering the bathroom.
Kyrgios beat the racket after losing to Khachanov
Tricks that delay games are no longer new, but they seem to have gotten worse. In order to curb such blatant abuse, in the 2019 season, the WTA Women’s World Tennis Association reduced the number of times allowed to take breaks from two to once.
Players can use that break time to go to the restroom or change clothes and they are only allowed to take place after the set is over. Remaining in other emergencies, the referee must agree. And if it happened in the middle of a set, the player had to do it before his serve.