A controversial call by Australian Open officials has the early rounds of the women’s doubles in the spotlight.
The pairing of American Alison Riske-Amritraj and Czech Linda Fruhvirtova took on the duo of Natela Dzalamidze and Alexandra Panova.
During a particular rally, Riske-Amritraj struck the ball at Panova, striking her on the body.
Riske-Amritraj immediately apologised but was shocked to hear the chair umpire award the point to their opponents.
That sparked an argument between the American and the official.
“That makes no sense. Dude. Oh, the way you see it? The way you see it? I’m sure you see it that way. That’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Pay attention. Dude, that’s tennis 101,” she said.
The exchange led to the supervisor being called in.
However, that is where the farce deepened as the Supervisor conceded that she hadn’t been watching the point and had to stick with the umpire’s decision.
Former World No 1 Tracy Austin questioned why the player who was hit was not asked about the incident.
“The opponent that got HIT knows it right away because they STOP! Clear indication they knew it hit their body. Why doesn’t chair umpire ask that player?” Austin said.
Tennis commentator and podcaster Craig Shapiro called for both officials to be sacked for gross incompetence.
“Chair and supervisor should have been fired on the spot. Complete choke,” Shapiro wrote.
Andy Roddick joined the voices condemning the officiating in the match.
“She should’ve agreed a little harder,” Roddick said.
“Went pretty silent when it seemed like there was a point to be taken.
“Also there was literally the thud sound of a ball hitting a body …. You didn’t need to see it. With my eyes closed, I could tell you what that sound is,” Roddick added.
Riske-Amritraj would then call for the use of more technology while acknowledging that the umpire had apologised for the error after the match.
“She should have called it on herself,” Riske-Amritraj tweeted, “& the umpire apologized for his incorrect ruling after, which I accepted.
“Poor sportsmanship and cheating happens all the time, especially at the junior level. Parents/players spend too much time, money & mental energy for that experience.
“As you can tell, I am extremely passionate about helping tennis’ future here,” she wrote.
Riske-Amritraj and her partner were eliminated by Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková on Saturday.
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