Toilet breaks at the Australian Open have been a hot topic so far during the 2023 tournament.
Novak Djokovic disregarded the chair umpires commands when he bolted to the toilet during his opening round encounter.
Andy Murray however had a different encounter during his almost six-hour encounter against Thanasi Kokkinakis.
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As the clock closed in on 3am (AEDT), the British star had just forced the match into a deciding fifth set when the urge to go struck.
The 35-year-old requested a bathroom break before the final set got underway, only to be told he wasn’t allowed to as he’d already used his one bathroom break earlier in the match.
The rejected request left Murray seething as he let chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore know the Australian Open rules are “disrespectful” and a “joke”.
“Do you know something? I respect the rules,” he told the umpire.
“But it’s a joke. It is a joke and you know it as well.
“It’s disrespectful. It’s so disrespectful to the players that the tournament has us out here until three, f***ing four in the morning and we aren’t allowed to go to the toilet and take a piss. It’s a joke, it’s disrespectful.”
Murray however might be his own worst enemy when it comes to bathroom breaks after being a prominent voice on the matter years ago.
During a match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open in 2021, the three-time Grand Slam winner vented over his rivals multiple lengthy breaks.
In late 2021, effective for the 2022 season, the ATP Tour implemented new rules surrounding bathroom breaks – limiting players to one per match for a maximum of three-minutes.
Djokovic was accused of ignoring the chair umpire to take a toilet break midway through the first set of his opening round win against Spain’s Roberto Carbales Baena on Tuesday night.
Whether it was too much coffee before the late-starting encounter or the excitement of being treated like a god on his return to Melbourne Park, Djokovic suddenly felt nature calling after just the fifth game of the match.
After grabbing his towel at the change of ends, Djokovic turned and said “I’m going to the toilet” in the chair umpire’s direction.
She apparently didn’t hear and Djokovic was forced to say “hello” three times to get her attention.
“I’m going to the toilet,” he repeated.
After a response that was inaudible to viewers but appeared to be heard by Channel 9’s commentary team, Djokovic paused and then turned and ran out of the arena.
The chair umpire, seemingly agitated, jumped immediately on her internal communication device to speak to the official who had followed Djokovic backstage.
“He’s gone off without permission, it seems,” John Fitzgerald said on Channel 9’s commentary. “I mean, 3-2 in the first set?”
The chair umpire called time and Djokovic returned to the court apparently in time to avoid a penalty.