Wrong Three Ways

Lucie Safarova arguing her case
Lucie Safarova arguing her case
Lucie Safarova was on the verge of taking the second set and the match at the Dubai Open this week, when the Chair Umpire made a doubly wrong call…

Lucie had won the first set and it was 5-5, deuce in the second set, with her opponent, Karolina Pliskova (a rising 22-year old, also from Czechoslovakia) serving. During the rally, a baseline shot was called OUT as Lucie hit the ball back.

Her opponent challenged and the HawkEye showed the ball to be IN; but instead of replaying the point, the umpire gave the point to the server.

Safarova protested, saying she had returned the ball in play (which TV replay confirmed); but the umpire said to her, “I may be wrong, but I remember your shot being out; so it is her point.”

Well, besides the fact that Lucie’s ball was in, it should have been replayed anyway based on the OUT call being made just as Safarova was hitting it back.

Wrong THREE Ways

And the third “wrong”? The TV replay also showed Pliskova watching Lucie’s shot landing clearly IN… and she said nothing. Call me naïve, but I still think that is wrong. Some people believe you should not “overrule” a call you know is not correct; but I am not one of them.

Are you?

So instead of break point at 5-5, it was ad in; and the server won her game and then eventually won the second set. In the third set, Safarova was still distracted and Pliskova rolled to an easy 6-1 victory.

It is amazing how one bad call can frequently dramatically impact a match (strategically and/or psychologically) when it should not.

The saying is, “Great athletes have short memories.”

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8 thoughts on “Wrong Three Ways

  1. The fourth wrong: Safarova should not let “one call” affect the rest of the match. Unfair situations do happen during the course of a match, how to handle them with decipline is also part of the game…..

    Janet – sometimes easier to say than to do. tks, george

  2. Pliskova was 100% wrong in not saying something. Ethics are not dead in tennis. I am almost (?) 100% sure each and every super senior I play would be ethical, so I am proud to be one of this group of guys!

    Patrick – 98% of super seniors. 🙂 george.

  3. Sorry George, but in that case, were I the opponent, yes, change the call and play it over.
    If you definitely know there has been a wrong call, I feel you should reverse it. Just the way the game is supposed to be played. The Fed does it, of course he’s usually ahead, but that shouldn’t matter. I’m pretty sure that you George, would do the same if it were you. You just don’t know it:)!

    Fred – my “double negative” in that sentence means that i WOULD give my opponent the call (which i have done); so we are on the same page. george

  4. I have learned over the years that if I question a close call it distracts me for several points afterward. So I accept what the call is and move on even on clay or match point.
    If I make a bad call, on clay, I also accept the correction as I know it was unintentional.

    Ralph, yes, “Great athletes have short memories.” george

  5. George, this is not the first really bad call in Dubai this week. Two days ago, the 9th seed, Andrea Petkovic, got “robbed” by a bad baseline call in the first set of a match against Zarina Diyas. Basically, Diyas’ shot near the baseline on Petkovic’s side was called good when it was actually a few inches out (as confirmed by slow motion instant replay camera footage afterward). However, the linesperson called it good, and the chair umpire failed to overrule. (I gather the women’s Dubai event does not have Hawk-Eye or else the errant call would have been quickly corrected.) Anyway, Petkovic grossly overreacted and, apparently, let the bad call get to her head. She wound up having a temper tantrum, losing the game, throwing her racquet, losing the set, and then losing the match. I don’t condone what Petkovic did, since she failed to act in a “professional” manner and let her emotions take over so she wound up losing a match that she otherwise could have won. But the bad call that affected Safarova that you cite and the bad call that caused Petkovic to go off the deep end illustrate, to me at least, that the Dubai officials do not appear to be particularly well trained. At professional tournaments where a device like Hawk-Eye may not be available, it is all the more important to have the highest level of professionalism and training among the on court officials or else these kinds of situations will continue. Overall, I think the officiating on the ATP and WTA tours has improved greatly over the years, but people are still people and mistakes do still happen. Players need to get better control of their emotions to get past a bad call that just is unfair, and the tournament directors need to strive to get the highest quality officials to work their events. For whatever reason — probably money, but maybe also not the best training for these folks — the latter does not always happen.

    Marty – they DO have HawkEye at this tournament; so i wonder why she didnt use it? george

  6. Similar situation against Hantuchova at French Open last year. Umpire screwed up badly, Kerber was well aware that Hantuchova’s shot landed in after play-stopping bad call and Kerber did not say anything and stole the point. Rooting against Kerber for the rest of my days. Need more Smyczeks.

    Phil – yes, Smyczek did the right thing and got recognized for its rarity! george

  7. I always tell my players, “A bad call rarely decides a match. How a player reacts to it often will.”

    Spike – Good words, Coach. tks, george

  8. a friend wrote to me off-line, So George, if the saying is: “Great Athletes Have Short Memories”, can we assume that as our memories deteriorate with age, we will become better athletes?

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