Weird situations happen on the courts all the time – even on the courts at the US Open.
Were you watching the doubles match between Coco Gauff / Jessica Pegula and Leylah Fernandez / Daria Gavrilova (Saville)? Did you see when Jessica was serving to literally STAY IN THE MATCH, and a paper napkin blew onto the court behind the baseline on Coco and Jessica’s side of the court? Daria stopped playing, raised her left arm while looking at the chair umpire, and yelled out, “Let!” The ball was hit a couple more times, and right after Coco’s racquet connected with the ball for a high volley put away at the net, the chair umpire, Christian Rask, called a let. WHAAAAAA??!!
THE POINT WAS OVER!!! Shouldn’t the call be for Daria and Laylah to forfeit the point since Daria yelled out in the middle of a point and stopped playing?! It was absolutely a hindrance.
So many things went wrong here. Daria couldn’t make the call, let alone stop playing like a spoiled brat (yeah, I’m keeping it PG, lol!). And for the chair umpire to side with her because she stopped playing is beyond messed up (yep… you heard what I meant, lol!) He should have paid attention to the game rather than the player just standing there doing nothing. He would have seen and heard Coco hit the winner.
Here’s the rule for what the umpire thought happened last night:
Rule 23. THE LET
In all cases when a let is called, except when a service let is called on a second service, the whole point shall be replayed.
Case 1: When the ball is in play, another ball rolls onto court. A let is called. The server had previously served a fault. Is the server now entitled to a first service or second service?
Decision: First service. The whole point must be replayed.
OK… there is only one “case”, and it addresses something rolling onto the court during play. In this case, the ball was a paper napkin, but it DID NOT “blow” onto the court (defined as the playing area in Part 1 — ITF Rules of Tennis) until AFTER Coco hit the winner.
As for Daria making the call 🙄… Under the USTA Officiating Scenarios and Interpretations it says:
1. Who may call a let?
Only an official or player may call a let. A player may call a let only on the player’s court. (Rule 23)
Soooooooo… Daria was 10000% wrong to have called a let and stopped play. In my opinion, that should have cost her and Leylah the point!
The umpire did make a call, and it was WRONG, and unfortunately, he stuck to it. Shouldn’t there be a way to challenge the umpire and review such points? YES.
Un-officiated League Matches
Recreational league players also have rules regarding the let, which are found in the “The Friend at Court,” Part 2 — THE CODE: The Players’ Guide to Fair Play and Unwritten Rules of Tennis
18. Let called when ball rolls on court.
When a ball (or paper napkin) from another court enters the playing area, any player on the court affected may call a let as soon as the player becomes aware of the ball. The player loses the right to call a let if the player unreasonably delays in making the call.
If Daria was playing in a recreational league match, she would have been able to call a let. But in this match, she just looked like a foolish child.
The lesson here is that you’ve got to know your rules, or at least have them handy. And should you ever go pro, pray that your chair umpire pays attention because you can’t challenge them for a review of the play in question.
What are your thoughts about what happened last night? Do you think the chair umpire should have made the call when he did? Do you think he should have reversed it? Do you think Daria and Leylah should have lost the point? Share your thoughts in the comments below 😃