Umpires denying players the right to challenge incorrect calls

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Umpires denying players the right to challenge incorrect calls Empty Umpires denying players the right to challenge incorrect calls

Post by hawkeye on Sun 20 Mar - 4:17

Pospisil/Sock defeated Lopez/Lopez 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 (deciding set tie break) in an Indian Wells semi final. The match point won by Pospisil/Sock was given to them despite them hitting the ball out and it being challenged by Lopez/Lopez. I believe the ball was showed on screen as out. I didn't watch this particular match but there are many similar examples of Umpires denying a challenge on a ball that is out and everyone watching knows is out. There are also examples of players attempting to deny opponents a challenge by appealing to an Umpire that the challenge was too late.

It's one thing to see evidence of a wrong call after the event but there are circumstances when the sport is made to look less credible. Umpires should have very good reasons for refusing a challenge and I'm not sure that a slightly late call is good enough.


Last edited by hawkeye on Mon 21 Mar - 2:36; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 6:15

Seeing as you didn't watch it, I saw it. Feliciano half heartedly puts his hand up, whereas marc played a return and Bernandes IMO felt that the stage of the challenge was too late.

Yes the players can count themselves hard done by because it was out, but if a player feels strongly about the challenge, make it clear to the umpire and not after the passage of play.

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Post by hawkeye on Sun 20 Mar - 6:56

Found the point in the doubles match. Looks like a quick challenge to me. Not good...

https://twitter.com/Rafael_Plaza/status/711003899453448193

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 7:59

Marc certainly wasn't quick...

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Post by Born Slippy on Sun 20 Mar - 8:32

Yeah, bad decision by the umpire. He seems really poor on this issue. Doesn't seem to have any consistency.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 9:29

I think the umpire was right. They played the point and only made clear their objection after they lost the point. The out serve shouldn't have been returned. It's a bit like the rule for hitting a ball that was going out.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 9:34

Exactly.

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Post by Born Slippy on Sun 20 Mar - 10:04

Nore Staat wrote:I think the umpire was right.  They played the point and only made clear their objection after they lost the point.  The out serve shouldn't have been returned.  It's a bit like the rule for hitting a ball that was going out.

Sorry, I don't think that's right at all. It's near impossible to pull out of returning a 120+ mph serve. FLo has his hand up immediately and Mlo started to complain as soon as he's finished his swing. Terrible decision.

Contrast it to the one he allowed in the Murray v Delbonis match where Delbonis waited to see if he had hit a return winner or not before challenging the return.

Poor umpiring.

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Sun 20 Mar - 10:08

A player will definitely return a serve that is close to the line - that's just instinct. The non-receiver put his hand up straight away. I can only assume the umpire missed that because otherwise their would be no reason not to allow the challenge. Human error I guess.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 10:28

If a receiver believes the ball is out and is not called out, they will challenge immediately.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 10:30

hawkeye wrote:Found the point in the doubles match. Looks like a quick challenge to me. Not good...

https://twitter.com/Rafael_Plaza/status/711003899453448193
I am on the side of the Umpire. The pair returned the ball and they were preparing for the next shot. The next shot was a clear winner. Once the point was ended only then did they clearly make their objection known. If the next shot had not been a winner the pair would have clearly continued with the point - such was their body language.

If you can see the point is out that is enough time to react and immediately stop the play. The person returning the ball made no attempt to stop the play and was clearly playing the point until the point was lost. The other person put his hand up briefly but because his partner played the return he quickly focused his attention on the point. Only when the point was lost did they both complain.

Lets not call each other names over this matter. If the umpire acted over every minor fidget of one or the other of the players the game would never finish. It is up to the players to clearly stop playing the point. They did not clearly stop playing the point. They clearly were playing the point.

Maybe someone could find out what the exact rules are for making a challenge during a point, especially when it is a doubles game.

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Post by MMT1 on Sun 20 Mar - 10:47

I think the umpire got it right and here's why. The rule is that the challenge must be immediate if the ball is in play, and this is precisely to prevent what Marc Lopez tried to do, which is to challenge only after realizing that they would lose the point. It is true that Feliciano Lopez put his hand up to challenge, but players are instructed before the match to challenge in a loud and clear voice, not simply put their hand up, precisely to avoid the kind of confusion that ensued in this point. Finally Marc Lopez is allowed to play the ball and then challenge, but he still has to challenge immediately, and not after a winner has been hit.

It seems draconian of the umpire, but there is another team involved and the rules must be applied fairly for their sake. In fact, it would have been easier for him to allow the challenge, but that wouldn't have been by the book, and as we know from his tete a tete with Nadal, Bernardes is a by the book umpire.

Ultimately, that the ball was indeed out has no bearing on whether the decision to deny the challenge was fair. It's a bit like crossing the street without looking, not getting hit, and concluding that it was a good idea to begin with.

Remember - all either one of them had to do was shout "challenge" immediately and they would have had their challenge, they didn't and that's not the umpire responsibility to rectify just because they would have been right.
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Post by Henman Bill on Sun 20 Mar - 11:27

The hand goes up quite a while after the shot has been floated back, and at the point when you can clearly see it's going to be an easy volley. Correct decision. Well done. Standard of umpiring in tennis continues to be high.

If you think the ball is out you challenge instinctively in the moment, not after thinking about it. They happen to challenge at the point when they have about a 5% chance to win the point, rather convenient. If that wasn't a factor they would have challenged half a second earlier. Also, if the return had been going for a winner, would they have challenged at the point when it became obvious that they had just hit a winner. Hardly.

Also, very immature and brattish reaction.

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Post by summerblues on Sun 20 Mar - 11:30

I am inclined to agree with the call, but I can see it as being in the gray area a little bit.  I see this as being roughly equivalent to the following:

1.  Player raises an arm to challenge but, realizing that the referee did not notice, then decides to continue with the point anyway.

2.  After the player loses the point on the next shot, he then decides to claim that the initial attempt to challenge should have stood.

While it would be better if the referee had noticed right away, it seems pretty clear to me that the player cannot back out of the challenge and then try to reclaim it a shot later.

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Post by Guest on Sun 20 Mar - 18:33

Henman Bill wrote:... Also, if the return had been going for a winner, would they have challenged at the point when it became obvious that they had just hit a winner. Hardly. ...  
Indeed. Or if Pospisil/Sock rather than hitting a winner off the return had hit the ball out (long) with Lopez/Lopez winning the point, would Lopez/Lopez have then complained?  Or would Pospisil/Sock having put that final ball long - would they have then challenged their own serve for being long - and if the umpire had allowed that challenge - would Lopez/Lopez then complain to the umpire for having upheld Pospisil/Sock challenge?

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Post by hawkeye on Mon 21 Mar - 2:52

From the video the non receiving Lopez puts up his hand immediately. Maybe the Umpire didn't see it but it looked clear enough to me. More clear cut than when players in singles have to challenge because the non hitting partner can act more quickly.

Any ball let alone a serve hit close to the line is difficult to judge, stop play and then challenge. Anyone who has played tennis will know that an out ball will often be hit by reflex before a judgement can be made. Umpires should ere on the side of caution before denying a challenge. Spectators and players alike want the correct ball calls.

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Post by Guest on Mon 21 Mar - 3:34

Provided they challenge in a clear and timely manner. Not a half hearted raise of the hand and complaints after point was lost.

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Post by MMT1 on Mon 21 Mar - 3:39

@hawkeye: I'm sure the umpire didn't see Feliciano Lopez's hand up to challenge until after Sock's volley: I mean, he does have to watch the ball. That's precisely why players are instructed to challenge in a loud and clear manner - putting the hand up doesn't cut it, and this is precisely what Bernardes says to Feliciano Lopez. Marc Lopez's challenge comes after the volley from Sock is past him, so I don't think there is any case for his challenge.
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Post by MMT1 on Mon 21 Mar - 3:46

hawkeye wrote:"...There are also examples of players attempting to deny opponents a challenge by appealing to an Umpire that the challenge was too late..."

I think challenges should have to be oral and immediate - players should not be allowed to look at their box, ask the umpire his opinion or check the mark.  All of these violate the spirit of the rule, which is for the challenge to come quickly so we can get on with the game.  There are times, for example, in between first and second serve, that it's a real imposition on the opponent if the player is allowed to take his time challenging.  I think it would be better/easier for everyone if the rule were more draconian, that way players like these spaniards couldn't pressure/intimidate the umpire into bending the rules.
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Post by hawkeye on Mon 21 Mar - 4:08

MMT1 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:"...There are also examples of players attempting to deny opponents a challenge by appealing to an Umpire that the challenge was too late..."

I think challenges should have to be oral and immediate - players should not be allowed to look at their box, ask the umpire his opinion or check the mark.  All of these violate the spirit of the rule, which is for the challenge to come quickly so we can get on with the game.  There are times, for example, in between first and second serve, that it's a real imposition on the opponent if the player is allowed to take his time challenging.  I think it would be better/easier for everyone if the rule were more draconian, that way players like these spaniards couldn't pressure/intimidate the umpire into bending the rules.

But watching a ball that is clearly out on screen and seeing players given a point despite this feels wrong. There is a little too much emphasis put on the party that should by rights have won the point doing the right thing. To be clear refusing a challenge on an incorrect call gives a point to a player who hasn't technically won it. This can happen of course. But the addition of screens verifying the correct ball call together with seeing an Umpire deny players a challenge doesn't look good. It looks bad. It's not really in the spirit of the sport to attempt to get an out ball that has been seen as out called in on a technicality. It looks bad. Not good for the sport.

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Post by MMT1 on Fri 25 Mar - 0:14

hawkeye wrote:
MMT1 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:"...There are also examples of players attempting to deny opponents a challenge by appealing to an Umpire that the challenge was too late..."

I think challenges should have to be oral and immediate - players should not be allowed to look at their box, ask the umpire his opinion or check the mark.  All of these violate the spirit of the rule, which is for the challenge to come quickly so we can get on with the game.  There are times, for example, in between first and second serve, that it's a real imposition on the opponent if the player is allowed to take his time challenging.  I think it would be better/easier for everyone if the rule were more draconian, that way players like these spaniards couldn't pressure/intimidate the umpire into bending the rules.

But watching a ball that is clearly out on screen and seeing players given a point despite this feels wrong. There is a little too much emphasis put on the party that should by rights have won the point doing the right thing. To be clear refusing a challenge on an incorrect call gives a point to a player who hasn't technically won it. This can happen of course. But the addition of screens verifying the correct ball call together with seeing an Umpire deny players a challenge doesn't look good. It looks bad. It's not really in the spirit of the sport to attempt to get an out ball that has been seen as out called in on a technicality. It looks bad. Not good for the sport.

I agree with that 100% - they should not have those screens on during the point, and if they do there should be a director controlling it who understands tennis and doesn't reply points that can't/won't be challenged.
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Post by Jahu on Fri 25 Mar - 2:40

But unofficial replays are only shown on TV and not on the court screen?
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Post by MMT1 on Fri 25 Mar - 10:17

hawkeye wrote:But watching a ball that is clearly out on screen and seeing players given a point despite this feels wrong. There is a little too much emphasis put on the party that should by rights have won the point doing the right thing. To be clear refusing a challenge on an incorrect call gives a point to a player who hasn't technically won it. This can happen of course. But the addition of screens verifying the correct ball call together with seeing an Umpire deny players a challenge doesn't look good. It looks bad. It's not really in the spirit of the sport to attempt to get an out ball that has been seen as out called in on a technicality. It looks bad. Not good for the sport.

By the way, take a look at this clip at court level. Imagine trying to play from the end with the big screen in your face, flashing it's bright lights, while trying to return a serve from Tsonga:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-IyJ8dlzn4

...ridiculous.
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