Tonight during Maria Sharapova's "match" against Iveta Benesova Mary Carillo casually brought up Andy Roddick's tantrum last night. Ms Carillo found it amazing that after attacking the lines woman, the chair umpire and creating general mayhem that Roddick was not assessed, nor was there talk of giving him, a single fine. One of my Twitter friends said that the female commentators had been upset about it all day. I guess I should've had the sound on more.
At any rate the following article showed up on Twitter this evening. Coincidence?
When electronic line judging was introduced at the United States Open in 2006, the golden age of the tennis tirade appeared to be doomed.
A higher digital authority was now available to trump human error and address the nagging doubts and piqued sense of justice that had once fueled the rants of players like Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.
But although Hawk-Eye, the judging system introduced in New York and elsewhere, did cover the bouncing ball, there was still a loophole. Humans, not machines, remained the ultimate arbiters of the foot fault.
It was not a technical problem. “We didn’t do it only because it wasn’t requested,” Paul Hawkins, one of the inventors of the Hawk-Eye system, said in a telephone interview from France on Thursday. “It would be simple to do it if tennis’s governing bodies wanted to do it.”
But those who approved and put Hawk-Eye in place, like the former United States Tennis Association executive Arlen Kantarian, did not consider the foot fault worth the trouble.
“We approved Hawk-Eye because there were 130-mile-per-hour serves that line judges just didn’t pick up,” Kantarian said Thursday. “When it came to foot faults, we figured that feet didn’t move that quickly so that line judges could pick those up.”
But where there is doubt, there is room for debate, and that breach in the safety net, however small, has left enough space for two extended tantrums over foot-fault calls in the last two years in Arthur Ashe Stadium: the first by Serena Williams last year and the second by Andy Roddick on Wednesday night.
Like smoke through the keyhole of a fortified door, human outrage, however misplaced, will apparently find an outlet, no matter how tiny.
“It is a bit ironic,” said David Brewer, the United States Open’s deputy tournament director, who was part of the Hawk-Eye approval process.
Williams’s outburst was by far the more menacing and more critical to her defeat: Her profanity-laced threats in the direction of the lineswoman Shino Tsurubuchi resulted in her being docked a point, which also happened to be match point in her semifinal against Kim Clijsters.
Roddick lost his cool when serving at 2-5 in the third set after he and Janko Tipsarevic split the first two sets.
“It wasn’t like I was up and after it happened it was a different result,” Roddick said after his four-set defeat. “I’m sure a lot is going to get written about it, but the actual impact on the match was probably close to zero.”
The impact on his image might be less negligible. Roddick has jawed with plenty of chair umpires over the years, but there was a particularly snide edge to his repeated gibes in the direction of the lineswoman who had called him for a foot fault (correctly, as it turned out) and then misidentified the foot that had created the problem, indicating Roddick’s right instead of his left. It was a courtesy that she was not obliged to extend him.
But Roddick seized on her error like a defense lawyer who had just spied a procedural error and refused to let go.
“It was the fact that I couldn’t get her to admit that it wasn’t the right foot that just infuriated me beyond,” Roddick said later, finishing the unfinished sentence by throwing his arms into the air. “The lack of common sense involved in that was unbelievable to me. I just have trouble when they stick to an argument that obviously isn’t right.”
But the foot-fault call looked correct, and Roddick later conceded that he had gone “too far.”
The highlighting is mine. An athlete in the heat of battle being called for a foot fault is quite different from an athlete opting to target a linesperson because he was pissed at how he was playing. And the women, players and commentators alike, should be upset. Someone wrote about Roddick's sense of entitlement on court. Saying sorry after the fact is Roddick's m.o. and it's grown tired.
The Fashion Police
I'm sure American Vogue editor Anna Wintour would've gotten the vapors seeing this outfit but she would have fainted dead away if she saw the t-shirt his father is wearing.
Worst. T-Shirt. Ever.
A brawl broke out in the Promenade level of Arthur Ashe stadium tonight. A real knock down drag out fight. Miscreants were escorted out. A brawl at a tennis match. What is the world coming to?