“Players don’t know the rules” asserted peremptorily a friend of yours and colleague referee. Because they were complicated times, between Kurt Cobain who was gone, Green Day dragging punk rock into mainstreamthe first season of Friends and the lack of a world wide web really worldwide as well as social media. Maybe the last part made things easier, but it depends on your point of view. “However” the friend added, “Even I didn’t know them all when I was playing basketball. And you?”. No, neither are you. So it happened that a referee allowed you a position or a certain movement and in the next match another referee told you no, you can’t stay there, or he whistled at you for a step infraction. When asked to get you the rules, a photocopy, a fax, a mimeograph, the coach almost laughed at you. There were nicer and smarter people. So, inevitably switched to an individual sport, when the FIT provided you with the book “Carte Federali” with the Rules of Tennis and all that, you were almost moved. To say that, after all, not knowing the rules of a sport was the anomalous normality for practitioners. today, however, with any document just a click away, there should be no more excuses. Nevertheless.
FURNITURE WILL BE YOU – “The permanent fixtures and fittings of the pitch include the end and side fences, spectators, spectator stands and chairs, all fixtures around and above the pitch, the referee’s chair, line judges, goal judge and the ball boys when they are in their respective places. In a singles match played with the doubles net and singles posts, the posts and the portion of the net outside the singles posts are permanent fixtures and are not considered posts or part of the net. The second part went from paper to reality for example a few years ago (certainly several other times, but we remember that one), starring Almagro, with the ball that hit the tape between the post and the post and returned to the field. The referee stopped the game and nobody seemed to understand why. As regards the first part of the rule reported, we note the incorrect translation of the FIT which writes chair of the referee instead of chair referee (chair umpire in the original).
HAWK’S EYE (CLOSED) – Once upon a time, people smiled when they read the various judges and spectators as “furnishings”. Then the pandemic came to materialize those words, thanks to the sad idea of some tournament to place shapes to fill the empty stands. In a not too figurative sense, too the referee is on its way to becoming a furniture because of the employment of hawkeye-live, real-time electronic calling technology. Rarely is the human in the chair allowed to wake up from his torpor and impose himself on the technology with a overrules. It happens when the ball goes beyond the limits covered by the system or if the longline rejected by the tape and falling back into the corridor is called out as if it were a blow from the opponent.
The problem arises when the ball is half a meter outside and the technology is silent, as on the first Canadian serve in the Davis Cup double against Germany, with the referee minding his own business or seeing but wasn’t sure he could intervene. The matter was finally settled by asserting the cunning regulatory provision according to which “if the system is not available and the referee is unable to make a decision, the point must be replayed”. The credibility of the system is safe and the referee is more and more furnishings. As long as he stays in his seat and he doesn’t start to get off the chair suddenly remembering that he has something else to do. In that case, not remaining, it is no longer even furniture and, if you hit it, bravo but they don’t give you the 300 points of the spaceship of Space Invaders but, again, the point is replayed. With another referee, probably.
WHO MADE POLO? – But it’s not just the refereeing team that has the mystique ability to change one’s status as a piece of furniture. The most bizarre example is that of pole of the network which is a permanent fixture on the service, but returns to part of the network as soon as the exchange starts. The rules don’t actually describe it that way, but the result is this: “Hitting is a foul if the batted ball touches a permanent fixture, singles stick or post before hitting the ground.” It has always eluded us ratio of this diversification and we are open to explanations. However, it was the rule itself that escaped in the match between Andy Murray and Nikoloz Basilashvili last January in Sydney. Here you are ballistic prowess of the case:
Basil’s first beat touches the tape, splashes on the post and falls back into the right rectangle. Nikoloz reacts with a slight gesture of annoyance for an episode of rare luck if only it were valid and prepares to serve the second, but the referee grants him the first serve. Here the real protagonist is the chair umpire, but Andy Murray accepts the decision without batting an eye and the episode is fully part of our series. Of course, in an outburst of honesty, Basilashvili should have protested and, having resolved the issue in his (un)favor, served the second ball after losing his rhythm and down 0-3 in the tie-break.
CARAMBOLA – In the Wimbledon final, Rybakina’s return attempt is directed towards the side stand and Jabeur controls the trajectory and then loses interest. However, the ball bounced off the referee’s chair and returned towards Jabeur’s half-field. She is now certain that she has won the point, the Tunisian reactivates in a fraction of a second going towards the ball, except then stop when it falls back into the corridor. No, Ons, it’s tennis, not billiards: it wouldn’t have counted. However, even limiting ourselves to the instinctive reaction in a context of great tension for the first Grand Slam final, we are not sure that she really thought the play was good and it could have been a nice gag from the one who is considered by her colleagues to be the funniest of the Tour In any case, we thank you for the suggestion.
FOX HUNT – To the Millennium Estoril Openwhen Frances Tiafoe it takes a first time to stay in the match against Sebastian Kordaoccurs the episode we’ve been waiting for since the first public release of Foxtenn, technology with much less discreet hardware than that of Hawk-eye. The shot of the Czech is held by the tape and the ball falls to the edge of the net landing on one of the cameras of the Fox, unreachable by Tiafoe. The direction can send the video contribution (no, it can’t, click on the link below).
It should be kept in mind that the “machine” is considered to be on a par with the net tube sometimes used in indoor tournaments: if the player touches it, he loses the point because it is considered part of the net; if the ball lands on it, it is considered a “first bounce” as if it were the playing surface. The extension of the line is painted on the video camera, therefore a part of it is considered “good”, while the external part is permanent furniture. In the replay, the ball can be seen clearly hitting the side on the playing field, although the touch judge does not signal anything. Frances, however, is not convinced and asks if the first bounce is the one on the vending machine or – he would like – the next one in the corridor. He then appeals to Foxtenn, but it must be one of those days where the technology turns against you because replay is not available, the ball being landed on top of the device, not in front of it. To add strangeness to the story, the absence of video cameras positioned at the end of the field aimed at the same lines, so as to have at least one not “snookered” by the player, but there is no trace of it. This mystery aside, the umpire upholds the original call as per the rules, since there is evidently not even a sign to check (it was a direct smash, maybe a dent…). The reaction of the public is anthropologically interesting.
HARD WARNING – “I don’t have to be ready after 10 seconds, I have another 15 left” says one Belinda Bencic furious yet contained to the referee who inflicted a warning for time violation because not ready in rebuttal. The truth, however, is that he doesn’t have another 15 seconds. When asked by the chair umpire, “Do you want me to explain the rule?”, Belinda answers with two questions: it’s not like that. So we’ll take care of reporting dal Rulebook that the hitter must match the reasonable pace of the hitter and that the time violation can be called before the 25 second mark. Previously, Bencic had even received (benefited from) a soft warningspractice that the referee wants warn the tennis player who commits an infraction who will punish him next time with a… warning. We don’t know if she helped infuriate Belinda, but it has to be admitted with other players on the pitch 10 seconds is the time that passes before the clock is started. Anyway, to make our case, that “I have 15 seconds left” it’s perfect.
SPOT ON – At Roland Garros, Camila Giorgi shows up on the field for the then victorious challenge on Sabalenka with a commercial name on the front of the shirt, while the regulation requires that it be placed on the sleeve (except, ça va sans dire, in case of sleeveless). Camila falls from the clouds, tells the referee that has no other shirts (apart from a factory…), the supervisor arrives and allows her to play. The episode is reported by various media, the sponsor – we imagine – is happy. An example of how not knowing (or “not knowing”) a rule sometimes results in an advantage. Nothing new: he had proved it a few months earlier Reilly Opelka at the US Open with an illegally branded handbag, episode that had gone around the world not only tennis because of resulting fine that some might call advertising investment.
EGO-NISM – We conclude with Nick Kyrgios that, prey to who knows what trance ago-exhibitionist, she crosses the line of the net to go and volley a ball destined to remain in Medvedev’s side, then she welcomes the “number” without understanding why Daniil calls Eva Asderaki’s attention. Had the ball rebounded into the Australian court and returned on spin, it would have been a valid stroke; if it had ricocheted off the Russian side, it would have been a futile blow. In this way, Nick’s play forcefully enters the upper areas of the ranking of points already won and instead it doesn’t.