Reem Abulleil takes a closer look at some of the recent exchanges between players and umpires at Wimbledon. She also recounts an unmissable moment from Nadal's press conference.
Players have conversations with umpires all the time, and those exchanges often make matches all the more exciting — they show us the raw emotions of the competitors in the thick of the action, and sometimes take a comical turn that exhibits a funnier side to them.
On Thursday, Nick Kyrgios and chair umpire James Keothavong had an unusual exchange.
A foot-fault was called against Kyrgios during his win over Robin Haase and the Australian disputed the call.
“What? After I hit it? How’s that possible?” asked the No. 15 seed.
“That’s what he has to do, he can’t call it before you hit,” replied a deadpan Keothavong.
Kyrgios, along with the crowd, all chuckled at the response.
Later, Keothavong actually climbed down from his chair, and started showing Kyrgios how he can avoid foot-faulting.
“He told me at any point if your foot crosses the line, it’s a foot fault. I just got too close to the T,” explained Kyrgios later.
And here I thought on-court coaching wasn’t allowed in tennis!
During her second round match against Dominika Cibulkova, home favourite Johanna Konta had a different kind of complaint.
Cibulkova is known to be one of the fieriest competitors on tour and it seems the way she was pumping herself up was annoying Konta.
“It was actually to do with the way she plays, she’s very intense. She was slapping her thigh. It was like a clapping. I just asked the umpire if it would be the same — is it the same if someone else from externally in the crowd would clap in between first and second serves? That was more what was bothering me,” said Konta after her loss.
“The umpire had a word with her and she stopped. She doesn’t do it in a malicious way. She does it to pump herself up. It was nothing more than that.”
A MATTER OF TIME
Rafael Nadal has a complicated relationship with some chair umpires because he takes too long between points and he sometimes doesn’t like the moment umpires choose to give him time violation warnings.
On Thursday, the world No. 1 received two time violations, one before the match had even started, and one before the third set. The Spaniard has a history with the chair umpire Carlos Bernardes, who was officiating his match against Mikhail Kukushkin, and for a period, the Brazilian was not working on any of Nadal’s matches.
Nadal didn’t even realise he received that first time violation before the start of his second round on Thursday.
“Before the match I had?” he asked reporters in his press conference.
“I received two time violations? First news about that.
“I don’t know. But being honest, with the five minutes, that’s because we have five minutes and one minute. I don’t see a watch here. I don’t see that countdown. It’s more difficult for me to understand what’s going on. In Australia and Roland Garros, we have the watch here that we can manage to be under control with the watch. Here we can’t.”
The hilarious moment came when the press conference moderator, sat next to Nadal, looked to be rushing the Spaniard during a lengthy answer, ironically about time violations.
“One second,” a laughing Nadal told the moderator. “Because I feel the pressure that we go… We finished the match so I don’t need that [mimics a nudge]”
You really can’t make this stuff up!