(August 30, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Former US Open champion Andy Murray playing with an artificial hip at 34 almost knocked out the No. 3 seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday. The contest which lasted about 10 minutes short of five hours, saw the Greek edge out the Scot ranked 112th, in five sets-2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Lately Tsitsipas has had a reputation for taking longer-than-usual breaks during a match. Murray was upset when Tsitsipas took a medical time out after the third set and made a long trip to the locker room.
Murray complained about poor sportsmanship: “It’s not so much leaving the court. It’s the amount of time. I spoke to my team before the match about it and said to expect that, prepare for it if things were not going his way. So I was trying to do that.
“But the issue is that you cannot stop the way that that affects you physically. When you’re playing a brutal match like that, you know, stopping for seven, eight minutes, you do cool down. You can prepare for it mentally as much as you like, but it’s the fact that it does affect you physically when you take a break that long, well, multiple times during the match.
“Every single time it was either — well, before my serve as well. I think when he took the medical timeout, it was just after I had won the third set. Also in the fourth set when I had Love-30, he chose to go — I don’t know if he changed his racquet or what we was doing.
“But, yeah, 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 that or something. He was fine, moving great I thought.
“Yeah, it’s just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match. I’m not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had influence on what was happening after those breaks.
“I rate him a lot. I think he’s a brilliant player. I think he’s great for the game. But I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him.”
When told about this in his media conference, Tsitsipas said: “If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak the two of us to kind of understand what went wrong.
“I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines, how everything is. Yeah, definitely something for both of us to kind of chat about and make sure. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority.
“As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.”
Just 4 years ago, back on tour for a just few months from surgery, Sloane Stephens beat US countrywoman Madison Keys in the finals of the US Open. Monday was repeat match-up, except it came in the first round. Stephens won 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7) over her good friend Keys to open the matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I thought the match was going to be tough from the very beginning,” Stephens told media. “Playing Madison is always difficult. We’re friends and then obviously Americans playing at the US Open is never easy. And then of course we played here in the final in 2017.
”So there was a lot of stuff surrounding the match just because it’s something that we’re familiar with, and I think a lot of people wanted to see.
“I thought it was a good battle. Obviously 7-6 in the third is a good match and just happy to be through.”
Coco Gauff, the 21st seed rebounded from being a set and a break down to tops Magda Linette of Poland to reach the second round 5-7. 6-3, 6-4 in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I was definitely very nervous coming into today’s match just because it’s a first round in your home Slam,” Gauff said in the news conference. “Honestly I’m glad that I was able to get through it. The crowd, playing in front of the New York fans, definitely is an experience that I’ll never forget.”
The 17-year-old Gauff will play 2017 champion Sloane Stephens for a place in the third round.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka had few problems with winning 6-4, 6-1over Marie Bouzkova in the Evening session in Ashe Stadium.
“I thought today’s match was really tough,” said the woman who represents Japan. I haven’t played her in a while. I guess just to be able to be the first night match and to win in two sets was really important to me.”
“I’m always nervous during the first round in a slam, ” she told media.
“But it felt kind of surreal to walk onto the court and to hear an actual audience this time. To see people and to hear their energy, because last year the automated crowd noise was kind of the same all the time. But here, people are reacting in real-time, so it was cool”
Before Gauff took to the court, American Brandon Nakashima produced the first men’s upset of the tournament when he beat 19th seed John Isner 7-6, 7-6, 6-3. This match was repeat of the most recent Atlanta Open final, but the outcome was reversed as Isner won the tournament.
“It was great out there,” said the 20-year-old wild card Nakashima, making his US Open main draw debut.. “The atmosphere, two Americans playing out there on a big court like that. It was great, a great feeling to be out there.
“Also really happy with the way I played today. Against him, it’s very tough, especially on the return games, to get some breaks and opportunities. But I just told myself I just got to try to take care of my service games as much as possible, just try to take every opportunity I could get out there.”
The San Diego native’s ranking is now in the mid-80’s.
More to follow….