French Open 2015: Controversy over line calls, players ask for review system

In 2012 when a line man called a shot ‘long’, Andy Murray immediately challenged the call by asking for a review system or Hawk Eye. It showed the ball just kiss the sideline, providing the Scot a championship point for his first ever grand slam title against Serbian Novak Djokovic. He won, delighting his country and his fans.

However, in this era of modern technology where even football uses it these days to avoid any form of controversy, French Open is the only slam among the four that still resorts to the chair umpire when a player doubts the line man’s call.

And this has been a controversy this year.

During her third round clash against heavy the eventual finalist Serena Williams, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka had a “little talk” with the chair umpire who asked for a replay of a point that was overturned by the line man after he called the ball long initially. Azarenka lost the set eventually.

In context to this, in a report of USAToday, Azarenka said: “There definitely has to be a review on that. We have a Hawk-Eye, so might as well just have that.”

In the same report it is said that the chair umpire thought that Williams’s got distracted due to the ‘early’ call by the line person due to which the point was suggested to be replayed. However, television reviews showed the American hitting the return ‘before’ the line person’s call.

Echoing her suggestion, local player, 25-year-old Alize Cornet termed the lack of review system to “shamefull”, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.

During her match against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the latter ceased a rally in the second set, claiming Cornet’s shot was ‘long.’ It was reported in the same article that when the chair umpire agreed with Svitolina’s claim, Cornet accused the umpire of stealing her point.

She eventually lost the match.

In the same report, she said: “It’s shameful. I don’t know how she could look me straight in the eye and tell me the ball was out.”


As recent as yesterday’s semi final clash between Serbian Novak Djokovic and Scot Andy Murray, chair umpire Pascal Maria was proved by television review to be wrong on three occasions, one of which gave away the first set to Djokovic.

It’s Rolland Garros’s tradition to not use the Hawk-Eye system unlike the other grand slams. Wimbledon also has a tradition where the players has to wear only white clothes, but that is not harmful to what the players prepare their lives for – the match.

Embracing new technology is nice especially if it helps in the betterment of the sport thus, starting to use the review system might be a correct decision for Rolland Garros now.


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