Casper Ruud landed in hot water after a bizarre code violation in his 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over Roberto Bautista Agut late last week at the Canadian Open.
The thrilling clash in Montreal took more than three hours to finish but at the end of the first set, which Ruud lost in a tiebreaker, he took a bathroom break.
Rather than needing to use the amenities however, the 7th-ranked Norwegian just wanted a change of clothes.
When he returned however, umpire Fergus Murphy told Ruud he was in violation of the rules because he didn’t go to the bathroom.
While it was just a warning, it was a bizarre scene as Ruud tried to get his head around the umpire’s instructions.
Ruud: “What, but I used it to change my clothes?”
Murphy: “You have to go to the bathroom as well. That’s the rule.”
Ruud: “But if I need to change my underwear, what do I do? Do it on the court?”
Murphy: “No, no, you can do both. It’s called a bathroom break.”
Ruud: “But if I need a change of clothes, what do I do?”
Murphy: “Yeah, I know that man but the rule is covered by the bathroom break rule. You can change your clothes but you have to go to the bathroom when you say you’re going to the bathroom.
Ruud: “But I didn’t say I was going to the bathroom, I said I was going to change my clothes.”
Murphy: “No I heard that.”
Ruud: “My socks, my underwear, my shorts, my t-shirt.”
Murphy: “That is covered by the bathroom break rule.”
Ruud: “Ok, well next time I take it, I’m going to go to the bathroom I just go into the toilet.”
Murphy: “You have to go to the bathroom, that’s your business. But when you don’t go I have to give you a warning for not going, that’s why I’m explaining it.”
Ruud: “So what is it, like a $3,000 fine or something?”
Murphy: “I have no idea about that.”
Murphy then gave Ruud an official unsportsmanlike conduct warning.
The ATP’s rule book states “Unsportsmanlike conduct is defined as any misconduct by a player that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the success of a tournament, ATP and/or the Sport.”
Fines generally go along with the code violations and the unsportsmanlike conduct violation “shall subject a player to a fine up to $20,000 for each violation” — although in this case it’s unlikely to be a full $20k.
The commentators were laughing at the situation.
“It’s seems a little ridiculous that you almost have to fake going to the bathroom,” one said.
However, some fans pointed to it being a 10-minute break when players are allowed “a maximum of three minutes once they have entered the toilet” and “two minutes for a change of attire in addition to the three-minute toilet break”.
In Ruud’s defense, the court was some way from the locker room.
After the break and the warning, Ruud bounced back to take out the second set in another tense tiebreak.
But in the deciding set, both men had to head to the locker rooms after a 69-minute interruption as thunderstorms passed over the area at 1-0 to Bautista Agut in the third.
He said time in the locker room was the perfect antidote for a game which had gone slightly stale as he battled the Spaniard.
“Thanks to the weather gods,” said Ruud, who would go on lose to Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals. “It was a tough battle, the first two sets, two hours 20 minutes of good intensity.
“But I was feeling it a bit in the legs, it was tough to find my intensity. The rain gave me time to breathe and regain some energy.”
Ruud wrapped up a long afternoon on his fourth match point, ending with 54 winners and 39 unforced errors.