Putting me on the spot Naga Munchetty slapped down by 5Live guest over Andy Murray probe

Naga Munchetty puts guest ‘on the spot’

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Andy Murray criticised his first-round US Open competitor Stefanos Tsitsipas for taking breaks during their match. Discussing this on 5Live, BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty chatted with guests about their thoughts on whether taking lengthy breaks can be classed as cheating. At one point, a sports psychologist came on the radio show to give her view, but said Naga’s persistent questioning “put her on the spot”.

Amanda Rowan, sports psychologist former world ranked GB tennis player, initially said: “I’ve been listening, and I agree with a lot of those points.”

“Please, take it away,” replied Naga. Amanda explained: “Well I was actually watching in the early hours, and I completely agree that we’re taking away from the point that Andy played some fantastic tennis, unbelievable tennis.”

She continued: “But the fact that Tsitsipas took eight minutes for his toilet break – and I am fully aware of the rules as well, but as a player, that is deeply unsettling.

“And yes, there are techniques which one can use, but the fact is I think Andy is right to say it is bordering on gamesmanship – it is, because-“

Naga cut in to say: “He said it’s cheating. He said it was cheating. Do you agree with that?”

“Well I think – sorry, could you repeat the question?” Asked Amanda.

“He said it’s cheating,” Naga repeated. “He was heard saying ‘It’s cheating, it’s cheating’, to his box. Do you agree with that?”

Amanda hit back: “Oh, you’re putting me on the spot here.”

She added: “Well, Tsitsipas is notorious for taking long toilet breaks.

“And I think, psychologically of course it’s unsettling, of course it creates frustration and annoyance in players.

“I mean it changes momentum and you know, he was playing fantastic tennis and Tsitsipas, I think, read the game there.

“He knew. And cheating – I agree with Andy, I think it’s poor gamesmanship, I think one is allowed two toilet breaks in a five-set match, eight minutes is almost ten minutes really.

“Obviously it’s really difficult to put a time limit because of the tournaments and the distance to where the loos are situated, however – eight minutes.

“And I think he does exploit it, I think it’s more of a psychological change of momentum, and it is poor gamesmanship.

“And the ATP do need to look at this – they do need to look at it.

“Other sports have looked at this and, quite frankly, it does interrupt a player’s concentration and momentum.”

After a promising start, Murray became frustrated after Tsitsipas left the court for eight minutes.

During his absence, the 34-year-old complained to the umpire and match supervisor, before going on to lose the final game against Tsitsipas.

Naga Munchetty hosts 5Live from 10am to 1pm.

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