Mardy Fish's post-match criticism for his round two conqueror Alejandro Falla's reliance on a trainer to get him through their spirited clash at the Australian Open might seem like sour grapes, but the American raised very pertinent points about player preparation and fair play.
Mardy was anything but a happy Fish in their showdown on Show Court Two, admitting afterwards that his constant unforced errors had led him down a path of frustration for much of the afternoon.
He had several heated exchanges with chair umpire Enrich Molina in the third set, as Falla called for a trainer on multiple occasions to treat what Fish believed were cramps.
He felt that Falla had cynically manipulated the rules in order to overcome his inferior physical preparation for the hot conditions at Melbourne Park.
"T o be able to get help for lack of fitness probably. I mean, if you would have saw how much water I drank in the past three days just to hydrate to make sure that something like that didn't happen, you know, I did all the right things there," he said afterwards
"I'm not feeling great, either. It was three hours and it's pretty hot out. It is what it is."
Fish, who has just turned 30 and finished top 10 for the first time in his career last year, prides himself on his physical preparation, and said he would never call for a trainer unless it was absolutely needed.
Falla's use of the trainer at change of ends to treat cramping is hardly unusual at the Australian Open. Several players have used a similar tactic, most notably Romina Oprandi, who was given help during her upset win over 10th seed Francesca Schiavone on Wednesday.
The ruling says that a trainer can be called during a change of ends, but not during games. That rule led to a dramatic first round exit for Belgium's Steve Darcis on Monday. Leading two sets to love and 4-3 with a break over Florent Serra, he fell to the court with a severe cramp in his leg.
Unable to move for some time, he was penalised two games before eventually being forced to retire.
In that instance Darcis insisted he had done everything right in his preparation, he used the ice towel on changeovers, he wore a hat, and he hydrated correctly. But he just cramped up.
Because of when it happened, he was forced to retire, while Fella, in a similar position, got away with it.
What frustrated Fish more is that Falla was playing like anything but a player with recurring cramp, moving around the court with ease and looking fresh as a daisy when he wasn't sitting down during the changeovers.
Fish's deeper concern was that Falla was gaining a physical advantage from his repeat visits from the trainer and that allowed him to outlast him late in a dramatic third set.
And that is where the problem lies. It is not the use of the rule which causes issue, it is the abuse of the rule.
A five-set Grand Slam match is as much a test of character as it physical prowess and if one player if using a rule to advantage unfairly, then it taints that test.
Falla clearly stretches the rules better than he stretches his muscles and that's his prerogative. It is up to the powers that be to ensure the fairness of the contest is preserved.