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Andy Murray says Fernando Verdasco broke rule by speaking to coach

NEW YORK -- Following his second-round exit from the US Open at the hands of Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, Andy Murray took issue with tournament officials for failing to enforce the rules governing the heat-related, 10-minute break players are allowed between the third and fourth sets.

The rules stipulate that while competitors are allowed to relax and mitigate for being overheated any way they choose during the break, they're forbidden to hold conversations with their coaches -- something Murray said he witnessed Verdasco doing.

"[Verdasco] was having an ice bath," Murray explained during his postmatch news conference. "When I came out of the shower, his coach and his -- I don't know if he's playing doubles with him, but one of the Spanish doubles players -- was in there chatting to him, and you're not allowed to speak to your coach. I went and told the supervisor."

Murray said he told the supervisor, "What are you guys doing? I mean, there's clear rules here, and you're allowing this to take place. I don't get it."

He continued: "They obviously weren't in there for long, but you got to do better than that. This is one of the biggest events in the world. If you have rules like that, you need to stick with them because one player getting to speak to the coach and the other not is not fair."

Verdasco went on to win the match 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, sending Murray home from his first US Open appearance since 2016.

Softening his criticism somewhat, Murray later added, "I'm not blaming Fernando and his team. They probably weren't aware that that was the rules. They certainly weren't trying to break any rules. [But] it shouldn't be for the player that's competing against him to have to go to the supervisor. If I hadn't said anything, they would have been chatting, chatting about the match, giving tactics and stuff.

"I shouldn't be in that position in the middle of a match at a Slam, having to make sure they're doing their job."

Verdasco disputed Murray's account in his subsequent news conference, insisting, "I know the rule exactly. I didn't speak anything to any member of my team."

According to Verdasco's version of events, he was in an ice bath, chatting with Marcos Baghdatis and his coach, a Spanish speaker. Verdasco's coach was in the vicinity, but, Verdasco emphasized, "We didn't talk a word."

Verdasco continued, "I just dress up quickly [after the ice bath] and went back to the court. I know exactly the rule, and I don't want to be the one breaking it."