18
Jan
12

David Nalbandian has called for the ATP to take action against an umpire who made a crucial blunder in his second-round loss to American John Isner.

Isner won the thrilling five-setter 4-6 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 10-8, giving the American his second headline-grabbing match at a grand slam after his 11-hour marathon at Wimbledon two years ago against Frenchman Nicholas Mahut. But on Margaret Court Arena last night the man in the hot-seat was chair umpire Kader Nouni, who over-ruled an Isner serve called out by the centre lineswoman. Nalbandian was on a break point with the games at 8-8 in the fifth, which took 99 minutes to complete. The Argentinian did not hear Nouni say “the ball was good” because of the noise from the packed arena. But when he realised the change, he went to look at the mark on the court before issuing a challenge. Nouni denied Nalbandian a Hawk-Eye replay, saying it was too late to challenge.

Play was held up for several minutes while a supervisor was called. Television replays showed the ball was out. But the supervisor said he could not change the chair umpire’s call. Isner won the last two games and later Nalbandian said the controversial call was not the reason he lost the match. But he wanted the ATP, which governs the men’s tour, and the ITF, which runs the four grand slams, to investigate.

“If they really want to do something, I don’t need to do anything, because it’s on the TV, on the video,” he said. “And every time I talk to ATP, it’s like nothing, so what is ATP … is it for the players or for somebody else?” He had no doubts Nouni should not be allowed to officiate again. “I don’t think he’s gonna be able to do this kind of matches. I mean, it’s no doubt about it,” Nalbandian said. “I mean, it’s ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires.”

 

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