Swallow Your Whistle

Lost in the reporting of Virginie Razzano’s huge upset of Serena Williams at the French Open were the multiple Noise Hindrance calls made by chair umpire

Eva Asderaki
that almost turned that match the other way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe many players (sometimes, including me, Joe McAleer and Phil Shapiro!) can make too much noise while striking the ball. Have you ever watched and LISTENED to a match between Sharapova and Azerenka?!

They are too loud and distracting with their screeches; and should be called for Noise Hindrance. But, in my opinion, Razzano’s sounds did not come even close to that level. So why was she called on them?

And how about the timing?! After an early match warning, the 29-year-old French player was crushing Serena in the deciding third set and serving at 5-1, 30-30 … when Umpire Asderaki called her for excessive noise and awarded the point to Serena. Razzano went on to lose that critical game – and the momentum.

And then Razzano was again serving for the match at 5-3, 30-30; and was AGAIN called and lost the point. She survived that penalty during an incredible 24-minute final game for the match upset.

Most avid sports fans feel that the referees (in all sports) should “swallow their whistles” in the last few minutes of a game. Sure, all flagrant fouls should be called; but when it comes down to crunch time and the game is going to be decided, it should be by the players and not the referees.

4 thoughts on “Swallow Your Whistle

  1. always remember the time monica seles tried to quiet herself in the finals of a major (french or wimbledon), when steffi graf and others said she squealed too much. she tried to play quietly and lost quietly also.
    i wonder how she really feels about that now?

  2. Annoying as load grunts are, a referee should not be the deciding factor in any match or other competition. Let the players play on and decide the outcome. Those hinderence calls were very poorly timed and inappropriate for the timing.

  3. I personally think they should stop all the yelling and screaming on the courts. i understand that the hindrance calls were made because Razzano departed from her typical sound and made some kind of pain related grunts although i did not hear it when watching the match.

  4. Personally, I think the hindrance rule should be scrubbed. It is far too subjective and, thus, is pretty much always going to be unfair and seemingly arbitrary. Tennis players are just babies when it comes to noise. I say get over it. Nobody ever said a basketball player, shooting foul shouts against a loud home team with the fans screaming their lungs out, should be entitled to automatic points because he was “hindered” by the noise. Same with soccer, baseball, football, lacross… in fact pretty much every other sport except golf. A personal case in point. This past weekend I played a USTA sanctioned 60s+ tournament at an inner city tennis club in Philadelphia which was the antithesis of your gentile “country club” setting. The members of the club, their families, and many of the neighbors were very supportive of the tournament and they turned out in droves to watch all of the matches. There were hundreds of spectators sitting in the bleachers, on lawn chairs, and generally standing and milling about just inches away from all of the courts. It was VERY noisy. It was VERY distracting. Much more so than your typical World Team tennis match. At least at first. But then, a strange phenomenon occurred. All of the noise and distraction just seemed to disappear, as my concentration level kicked into high gear for each of the matches that I played. I stopped hearing any of the talking in the background. I hardly noticed when spectators occasionally cheered and clapped, VERY loudly, for somebody’s great shot, occasionally even my own. I played three rounds with these seeming “hindrances,” winning two and losing in the finals, and I have to say it was an eye opening experience. The noise never bothered me, nor did it bother any of my opponents because we all talked about it after the matches were over and that is what each of them confirmed. So I say, tennis players get over the noise issues. Concentrate on your own side of the court and forget about what is happening on the other side of the court. If you get into just seeing the ball and making your shots, there is literally nothing that the other player can do or shout that should really be able to bother you. If it does bother you, then you are not concentrating hard enough or you are just being a baby.

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