Wimbledon and etiquette tend to go hand in hand but on Monday, on Court No7, there was a curious incident involving a leading doubles player, a refused bathroom break and a ball-can.
Pablo Cuevas asked to go off court for a toilet break at 8-9 in the final set of the Uruguayan’s third-round match with Marcel Granollers of Spain against Britain’s Jonny Marray and Adil Shamasdin of Canada, only to be refused by the French umpire, Aurélie Tourte.
One witness claimed that Cuevas had urinated into the can, under the cover of a towel, but Wimbledon officials said on Monday night that “no urination was involved” although a code violation was issued for unsportsmanlike conduct at the time.
Marray and Shamasdin won the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 14-12 and the pair tried their best to shed some light on the incident. “He got a code violation [at around 9-8] for unsportsmanlike conduct,” Shamasdin said. “It was during a changeover and I guess it was something to do with a can or something, I really don’t know. I think it has something to do even with bathroom breaks, I’m not really sure.”
The match ended in controversy, too, when Cuevas and Granollers staged a sit-down protest at 12-13, 0-40, facing three match points, after they were docked a point for a second code violation for slamming a ball out of the court. After a wait of well over five minutes the pair agreed to resume only after consulting the supervisor and promptly dropped serve and lost the match. Granollers then harangued the umpire, thrusting a ball-can in her direction, and she was accompanied off the court by a security guard.
Under the rules for men’s doubles the players are supposed to take only two toilet breaks during a match but Marray, the 2012 doubles champion, said he thought Cuevas should have been allowed to go. “I think you should be allowed an extra toilet break if it goes to five sets,” he said. “Are you supposed to go before your own service game? I don’t know what the actual rule is. I think you should be allowed to go to the toilet. It’s deep in the fifth set. I went a couple of times.”
The pair now play the No12 seeds, Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi. Marray has been out of the limelight since his 2012 win with Freddie Nielsen of Denmark but it seems in Olympic year he is back on top form. “I always have a rubbish start to the year so I don’t get selected for it and then have a decent run here,” Marray said, laughing. “But I had a great year in 2012 and I always liked the grass-court season, tend to play my best tennis here and tend to pick some good partners along the way.”
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