Former seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe acknowledged that there are definitely certain aspects of the game which players can use as their advantage to break the momentum or rhythm of their opponent. In the King Richard movie, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was shown to be down by a set and a break to Venus Williams, before she took a lengthy bathroom.
After returning to the court, Sanchez Vicario completely overturned the deficit and won the match in three sets. Sanchez Vicario later voiced displeasure as she felt it wasn't right to portray her in that picture. But that's not the point as McEnroe simply wanted to acknowledged that things like that really happen in today's tennis.
“What happens there is, you try to find a way to throw them off basically, and unfortunately in tennis there’s certain rules and regulations that are allowed, and they’re abused. One of them is the bathroom break, which is basically a try to kill the momentum and that’s in essence what happened in this match,” McEnroe said in a video for GQ Magazine, per Sportskeeda.
McEnroe: In my time bathroom breaks weren't allowed
Back in McEnroe's days, players couldn't take a bathroom break mid-match. But McEnroe admits that his behavior probably tended to throw people off and kill their rhythm and momentum.
“When I was playing, this is before Venus’ time and before Serena’s, we weren’t even allowed bathroom breaks, which would, you know, tense you up a little bit. You know, if you absolutely couldn’t wait anymore, I suppose there were certain exceptions, but there was no rule for going in bathroom break, bringing trainers, on the court, things that are abused.
You know, you could argue that I did things that threw people off, my behavior. This [bathroom break] is another form of that, in a way. And I think it's just as bad if not worse," McEnroe explained.