Jodie Burrage was left frustrated by a lengthy toilet break taken by opponent Tamara Korpatsch and her own inability to prevent a collapse on her Australian Open debut.
The British number two admitted it was “panic stations” as the first-round match slipped away from her at Melbourne Park.
Burrage dominated the first set against her German opponent but Korpatsch, who was beaten by Emma Raducanu in the first round here 12 months ago, turned things around after heading to the bathroom and eventually ran away with a 2-6 6-3 6-0 defeat.
The tactical use of toilet breaks has been a hot topic in recent seasons, and players now only have three minutes, but that does not count the time walking to and from the court.
“I’m not sure why it was so long,” said Burrage. “I did ask (the umpire), and he said, ‘Yes, she’s used her three minutes, she’s just on her way back’. But then that took another few minutes. I get that it’s a big park, though, so maybe it just took a long time for her to get there.
“You’ve just got to keep playing matches and get used to how you want to deal with when your opponent is changing up the rhythm of it and trying to disrupt your rhythm, which is what she did in the second and third (sets) because it seemed like every change it was something different, whether it was her shoe or her rackets or towel.”
Burrage earned her spot in the main draw here for the first time after breaking into the top 100 last season and she played with confidence and purpose to take the opening set as the year’s first grand slam made its maiden Sunday start.
But, as Korpatsch steadied and the wind picked up, Burrage’s unforced error count began to rise.
She had her chances in the second set but could not take them and the third quickly ran away from her in a slew of mistakes.
Burrage was left with plenty to mull over, principally how to feel like she belongs at the top level and how to make her game more robust.
“I found it tough to serve in that wind and just my game in general,” said the 24-year-old, who lost twice to Korpatsch last season.
“I tried to adjust as much as possible but, when you hit a bigger ball I guess and don’t grind it out, when it gets windy, it’s not as easy to play, but that’s just what I need to learn to do. I need to learn to have a bit of a plan B because there was no plan B there today.
“When someone just stops missing and puts balls in court, it’s not easy to have the confidence to hit through them. I need to learn how to back myself on the court because at the moment I don’t in those situations.
“You could see it today. It was just absolutely panic stations at some point. So that’s what all of these experiences and being at this level and hitting with these types of players, you just get more experiences like that.
“I can play at a high level. It’s just getting it for two hours instead of 45 minutes.”