The Hawkeye replay system has dramatically improved watching pro tennis on TV. Gone are the days of John McEnroe throwing long-lasting temper tantrums, yelling “You cannot be serious!” over and over to the chair umpire. But the system is not yet perfected, as illustrated at Indian Wells this week.
Match Point Error
Yesterday, Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis was serving for the match vs Argentinian veteran Juan Monaco and was robbed on match point.
The game before, Juan Monaco was serving to stay in the match at 3-5 and was out of Hawkeye challenges. After a rally, his baseline groundstroke was called OUT.
He questioned the call, but had no challenges left; so he looked to the chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani (my favorite umpire), who said “I am not 100% sure, so I cannot help you.”
The TV replay showed that he would have won the point. As it turned out, he held serve in spite of the bad call; and forced the Australian to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set.
During that game, Kokkinakis wrongly challenged a call and lost HIS last challenge; so both players had no challenges left.
The young Aussie is now serving at ad-in, match point … Monaco hits a ball near the sideline… it was out but was called in. Kokkinakis looks up at the umpire; but with no challenge available, he loses that point and eventually that game.
Fortunately for him, the match goes to a tie breaker, which he wins.
How to change the system?
• To this problem, I would suggest that if the chair umpire IS 100% sure the call is correct, he stays with it. But if he is NOT 100% sure, he calls for a replay on his own.
• Another challenge thing that irks me is when they allow the player to casually stroll forward to lean over the net and look for a mark on the other side of the hard court. Three second limit on calling for a challenge.
• Also, a player should not be allowed to wait till their shot lands out to THEN challenge a shot that was on their side of the court.
• And at 6-5 in that third set, Mohamed (pictured here) wrongly called “not up” (that the ball had bounced twice). That call should also be challengeable by the player, using one of their three challenges.
What do you think about the challenge system?
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