ATP Announce Break Rule Changes

Elizabeth Wagner - 25 Nov 2021

Following a spat between Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, the ATP has reviewed its men’s break rules and made some changes. Murray accused Tsitsipas of cheating as he took numerous breaks throughout the match, all at crucial junctures. This says Murray was psychological warfare and was designed to throw him off his stride. The “cheating” label was a harsh one, but many felt it was warranted.

Other tennis stars sided with Murray, with his tweet stating that it takes Stefanos Tsitipas twice as long to go the bathroom than it takes Jeff Bazos to go to space receiving an outpouring of support.

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Not Breaking The Rules

During the US Open first round match, the Greek player had a lengthily break at the end of the second set, a medical time out after the third and spent nearly eight minutes in the toilet at the end of the fourth set. In his next match the third seed player pulled the same stunt and spent more than seven minutes in the locker room after he lost the third set. The crowd had caught on by then and when he returned to court, he was jeered.

The third seed had a lengthy toilet break at the end of the second set, a medical time-out after the third and a near eight-minute break at the conclusion of the fourth set. In his next match, Tsitsipas went to the locker room for more than seven minutes after losing the third set and was jeered by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd on his return.

When asked about his long breaks, Tsitsipas said that he wasn’t breaking any rules, and the breaks he took were “allowed”.

This sems to have spurred the ATP into action and new rules about breaks are now being tabled.

ATP Calls Time

In light of the furore, the new ATP time limits will come into effect from the start of 2022, with the medical time out rule to be confirmed in due course.

The new toilet break rule gives players 3 minutes once they have entered the toilet, and they are only allowed one toilet break per match. These breaks will only be allowed during a set break.

A 2-minute additional change of attire time limit is to be enforced too, and players cannot combine toilet breaks and change of attire breaks unless the umpire has given permission. If players exceed the limits, time violations will be issued.

The proposed medical breaks will see players having 3 minutes per match during a set break or changeover, or if a player cannot wait until this point, they’ll forfeit the points that allow them to get to set break or change of ends. uses cookies to give the best experience possible. Please read our Cookie Policy for more details