Forgiving Andy Murray insists there is no “space” between him and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Murray and fifth seed Tisitsipas face each other today on Centre Court for a place in the third round of Wimbledon two years after the British two-time champion accused the Greek superstar of “cheating” when they clashed at the US Open.
The Scot was incensed over a long-winded toilet break during that defeat for him and declared: “Fact of the day – it takes Stefanos Tsitsipas twice as long to go the bathroom as it takes Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder who had just made an all-civilian flight) to fly into space.” And felt the Greek ace took “20 minutes” for his loo visit at Flushing Meadows to upset his rhythm.
The ATP now limit such breaks to one of a maximum of three minutes each match.
But former world No.1 Murray, fighting to get back to the top despite a metal hip, refuses to hold a grudge against the 24-year-old.
Murray, 36, who beat fellow Brit Ryan Peniston in the first round, said: “I was really angry after that match and I was really disappointed with what happened. I didn’t want to do the press conference (at the 2021 US Open). I had spoken to the referee beforehand. I said to him I didn’t want to do it. Because I knew exactly how it was going to go.
“My feeling on the toilet break rule? There wasn’t really any rule at the time. And it was getting abused a little bit.
“I got to spend quite a bit of time with him at the Laver Cup (in 2022). I like him. I think he’s a good guy.
“Stefanos is a top player. He has been in the top ten of the world for a while now.”
Speaking in the Daily Mail, Murray added: “He has been to the latter stages of multiple Slams. A classy tennis player. It is definitely a step up. I will need to be on my game to beat him.”
Murray has been able to rest as Tsitsipas fought over two days in his rain-delayed five-set win over former world No.3 Dominic Thiem.
And Tsitsipas is only too aware that he will be taking on Murray and the crowd in the Scot’s “living room” on Centre Court.
Tsitsipas said: “This isn’t my first rodeo! He’s someone that I respect. Obviously he’s older than me. He has done great things in tennis. I’m looking forward to this match. I hope there’s plenty for me to learn. Regardless of the outcome, I feel like I really want to go out there and give it a shot and aim for being super strong and disciplined in that match because it will require lots of that. If I’m in there persistent and focused on my goal, I feel like anything is possible.”