Monday, May 30, 2011
"We had a three, four ball rally and he hits a slice that I thought was clearly out, a couple of inches," said Johnson, who gestured in dismay after he returned the shot. "The referee on the line didn't call it, but the chair overruled it, which I felt was the right call, but I guess he feels differently, and most of the UVA people here feel differently."
Playing with a full complement of line judges for the first time, after the players had called their own lines through the quarterfinals with a chair to overrule clear mistakes, there was an adjustment to be made. Although both players adapted quickly to the change, the first set tiebreaker brought another controversial call, or lack of one, irritating Shabaz again. Serving at 5-4, Johnson hit a surprise kick first serve, which Shabaz didn't get back in play, giving Johnson two set points. On Johnson's next first serve, a flat one, Shabaz thought it was long, making no move to Johnson's return of his return. The chair umpire, Michael Standrod, called the score, game and first set to Johnson, while Shabaz pleaded his case. During the set break, Shabaz continued to discuss the failure of the chair to call a fault, especially since he had overruled on the previous set point.
"I couldn't tell you, it was close either way," Johnson said of his serve. "It's hard for me to tell. Peter (Smith, USC head coach), for what it's worth, told me it was good, whether he was just saying that because he's my coach, or because it was good, I don't know. But it's tough to see, it's tough conditions, but sometimes it doesn't go your way and you have to be ready for anything."
The second set started as the first had, with no break points and easy holds through the first five games. Serving at 2-3, 30-15, Shabaz hit a forehand wide, and on the next point Johnson came up with an audacious dipping cross court pass to make it 30-40. Shabaz missed his first serve, and as the ball came back to him he swatted at it, with some anger but not any visible emotion. Unfortunately for him, the ball left the stadium, and the chair called out point penalty, unsportsmanlike conduct, game Johnson. As both players walked to the bench, Shabaz approached Johnson and shook his hand, while Virginia head coach Brian Boland, who was watching from the stands, could be heard to shout, "No, Shaz, No." Shabaz put his racquet in his bag and walked off the court, while all 1500 fans, who had been treated to an extremely high-quality display of tennis to that point, sat in stunned silence.
"I'm not sure what happened," said Johnson. "He was just done. After the point penalty, hitting it out of the stadium, he just called it quits. I've never had that happen in a match in my life. He's a tough competitor, I'm just kind of confused about what happened."
Johnson was hardly the only one.
"I'm speechless," said USC head coach Smith, who said he had never seen a match end that way in his over 20 years of collegiate coaching. "I actually feel sorry for all those involved. Michael is a way better person than that, and that program's a way better program than that. There were some missed calls, but that's tennis, if you've got umpires or not. I've got a lot of text messages asking me what just happened."
Cavalier head coach Boland described himself as speechless, but went on to elaborate on his disappointment with the 23-year-old senior from Fairfax, Virginia.
"I would probably consider that the lowest point in my 15 years as a head coach. I'm in shock.'
Asked if he shared Shabaz's frustration with the chair umpire, Boland was blunt.
"You are never justified in quitting a tennis match, under any circumstances, no matter what the adversity," said Boland. "Whether we agree or disagree with the line calls, whether we're having the worst day of our lives. I've told my players that my entire coaching career and I'm in absolute shock."
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I ran across this article this morning and thought it might make for interesting reading on the blog. Just wondering if I am the only one a bit uncomfortable with some of the things I read in this article...
PARIS (AP)—Ryan Harrison of the United States has made it into the French Open, after all.
Harrison lost in qualifying but was the beneficiary when Benjamin Becker of Germany withdrew from the main draw because of a left elbow injury Tuesday. Now Harrison gets a chance to offset $2,100 in fines he received for racket abuse, unsportsmanlike conduct and an audible obscenity during qualifying.
Harrison was to face 2009 and 2010 French Open runner-up Robin Soderling on Tuesday.
Instead of trying to get a wild card into the tournament via a U.S. Tennis Association playoff, Harrison chose to go through qualifying in Paris. When a player withdraws from the tournament after the draw has been held, a loser in qualifying—known as a “lucky loser”—gets to move into the field.
Monday, May 23, 2011
During my match, two courts away, a player dropped an "f' bomb loud enough for me (who at my age am aware that I am losing some of my hearing) to hear & probably audible enough to be heard by the other two courts on the other side of him and one or two courts behind us, not to mention all of the spectators. That I could see there was an official one court away from him facing him who just stood there. May have been others, just didn't notice them.
After my match, I remarked about my disappointment to my opponent. His reply was, the ______ officials have the attitude that they are going to stay off of the court. Only go on court when they are requested. In my opinion, the players and whomever is paying these officials is getting ripped off. (Forgive my being blunt)."