UNLIKE MOST MATCHES in the opening week of a tennis Grand Slam event, last night’s meeting of John Isner and David Nalbandian was interesting indeed.
In the deciding fifth set, the pair were locked at eight games apiece with Nalbandian at break point against the big American. Isner’s next serve was called out by the line judge, a decision overruled by umpire, Kader Nouni. Having saved his service game, Isner went on to win the final set 10-8.
You can see the serve for yourself at around about the 1.40 mark here, but the real action happened after the match when the Argentine branded Nouni ‘stupid’ and questioned how he could officiate at one of tennis’ big four events. Following Nouni’s overrule, Nalbandian called for hawk-eye. The request was declined by the umpire on the basis that too much time had passed while the players inspected the scuff mark left by the ball.
“How many times do we check the mark and ask for Hawk-Eye?” an incredulous Nalbandian asked the gathered press. Adding, “so somebody from the umpires or ATP can explain this situation. I mean, what is this? This is a grand slam. I haven’t seen the video but I don’t think it was too late to call. John (Isner) said, ‘yeah, ask’.”
“It’s ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpire. Eight-all, break point. Can you be that stupid to do that in that moment? What does the umpire need? Press, the name, his picture (in the media) tomorrow? Incredible.”
The frustrated world number 87 had already let emotions run high earlier in the match as he threw his racket at an Isner shot which had passed him by. According to the video’s uploader, the offending racket went on to hit a photographer.
YouTube credit: icficf9
Nalbandian said he would not appeal to overturn or replay the match because the evidence is already out on display. Isner will go on to face Feliciano Lopez in round three.