Men's world No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas came to be one of the sinners of this summer's U.S. Open tournament. He took a bathroom break that lasted nearly eight minutes during a back-and-forth match versus Andy Murray, and Murray didn't hold back while criticising Tsitsipas after the fact.
ATP could soon implement stricter rules regarding stoppages associated to medical timeouts and bathroom interruptions.
"There will be a change to the rules for bathroom breaks and on-court medical timeouts as well," an ATP source explained.
"I hope that before the next season begins in January, we will have a stricter rule when it comes to toilet breaks and medical timeouts."
The source added: "It's been an issue for a long time but we are taking quite a serious approach now to try and change it."
The rules state.
A player may request permission to leave the court for a reasonable time for a toilet break, a change of attire break, or both, but for no other reason.
"Toilet breaks should be taken on a set break and change of attire breaks must be taken on a set break. In singles events a player is entitled to one (1) break during a best of three (3) set match and two (2) breaks during a best of five (5) set match.
"Any toilet break taken after a warm-up has started is considered one of the authorised breaks. In all cases, the nearest assigned bathroom must be used. The player is expected to have needed attire available on court.
"Additional breaks will be authorised but will be penalised in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule if the player is not ready to play within the allowed time. Any player abuse of this rule will be subject to penalty in accordance with the Unsportsmanlike Conduct section of the Code of Conduct."
Alexander Zverev, who objected to Tsitsipas leaving the court during their Cincinnati semi-final last month, said the Greek’s behaviour at Flushing Meadows was “unacceptable”.
However, Tsitsipas found support from world number one Novak Djokovic.
“I’ve got to stand for Stefanos Tsitsipas,” Djokovic said at the US Open. “I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. I support him.
“The rule is not clear. Of course you can argue it’s all relative, everyone sees it differently.
“This was a hot topic last couple of weeks. I think he didn’t deserve that much attacks that he was getting in the media from everyone.”