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Toilet breaks : What the rule book is saying

Stefanos Tsitsipas sparked controversy during the US Open with the length of his toilet breaks. Here what the ITF Official Grand Slam Rule Book is saying about those.

Stefanos Tsitsipas at Lyon in 2021 Stefanos Tsitsipas at Lyon in 2021

Bathroom breaks have been one of the big talking points of the first week at the US Open, with a particular focus on Stefanos Tsitsipas and the extended breaks he took, first against Andy Murray after the fourth set of their first-round match and then, in his second-round match with Adrian Mannarino, when he took a break at the end of the third set, which the Frenchman had won.

Tsitsipas says he is not breaking any rules, which is true, because there is no set time limit on how long a bathroom break should be. However, there are a number of guidelines in the Grand Slam rulebook, as listed below.

The full article from the ITF 2021 Official Grand Slam Rule Book:

“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.

In all doubles matches, each team is entitled to a total of two (2) breaks. If partners leave the court together, it counts as one of the team’s authorised breaks.

Any time a player leaves the court for a toilet break, it is considered one of the authorised breaks regardless of whether or not the opponent has left the court.

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.”

Excerpt from the 2021 Official Grand Slam Rule Book
Excerpt from the 2021 Official Grand Slam Rule Book
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