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Tennis

Stefanos, You Should Really Get That Checked Out

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns a shot against Andy Murray of United Kingdom during their men's singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Stefanos Tsitsipas, my buddy, my dude. Listen. I know what it’s like to need to poop so badly that it interrupts your daily activities. I am human after all. I have stress-induced lactose intolerance! Sometimes, you know, you think you’re gonna be fine after you eat a whole pizza and then you very much are not fine. But you are a professional athlete! You cannot be eating a whole pizza before the game. You cannot be having the kinds of stomach troubles that disrupt your life. You’re an adult! There are doctors for this!

When you show up to play your first-round match of the U.S. Open against Andy Murray, for example, you should probably eat a meal beforehand that is not going to treat your small intestine like a slip ‘n slide. And that must be what happened right? You must either have some kind of very bad medical issue that you need to see a doctor for ASAP, or you got food poisoning, right?

Is that what happened? Because what it looks like happened is that you used your stomach as an excuse to take some breaks that just happened to come right when your opponent was gaining momentum. First there was the medical treatment of your left foot immediately after losing the third set. One break is understandable, fine really. But then there was the poopy break: the break where you went to the bathroom for, um, seven minutes.

Imagine being Stefanos Tsitsipas. Imagine never drinking an entire jug of unfiltered water in Oaxaca. Imagine never eating so much street food all the time that you don’t even know where you got this particular bout of food poisoning. Imagine having respect for your own digestive system and eating special athlete food all the time so you have healthy robust poops. While that is unattainable thinking for me or even for a normal person, you, Stefanos Tsitsipas, are a professional athlete. There is no way you are eating leftover pizza out of the back of your fridge based on the judgment that it’s “probably fine” the day before a big match.

You certainly wouldn’t do that if it you had JUST HAD an emergency poopy problem less than two weeks ago. Did you forget about that Cincinnati Open match against Alexander Zverev when you took an eight-minute bathroom break? No way you did if it was a real bathroom break!

I was willing to grant you some grace before I knew about this second poop event. In fact, I thought Andy Murray was maybe being a little rude to someone with a digestive issue when he tweeted this (very funny) tweet this morning:

But not now, Stefanos!!! If this was a real problem, and you had really been in the bathroom pooping for eight minutes two weeks ago, you would have felt shame. You probably, in all likelihood, would not have come back out onto the court for fear that one big grunt on a serve would make you a meme. But no, you came back out, no problem, no shame, and you won just like you did yesterday.

Could it be argued that both Murray and Zverev are being sore losers and pointing to you and your poopy pants to excuse their losses? Sure. But you didn’t even have a defense. Had you told reporters when asked about your eon in the bathroom that you were pooping so much you thought you would die, for example, I would feel sympathy for you. I would be on your team. But you didn’t. You said, “I don’t think I broke any rules.” You said, “I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority.”

But you know what should be your priority, Stefanos? Doing a damn elimination diet to figure out what your digestive issues are so you can quite literally shit and get off the pot before big matches. What should be your priority is getting this “real issue” solved quickly to save yourself from further embarrassment. Or, you know, you could just play the game you are a professional at playing by the standards it has, even if that means you don’t get a bonus doody break every time you need a breather.