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Andy Roddick foot fault prompts debate on tennis challenge system


By Alexandra Willis

2 September 2010

Another controversial foot fault at the US Open at Flushing Meadows has prompted calls for tennis to extend the Hawk-Eye challenge system to include foot faults. One year on from the explosive incident that saw Serena Williams docked a penalty point after she was called for a foot fault in her semi-final against Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick left Arther Ashe Stadium practically foaming at the mouth after a similar incident in the third set of his second-round loss to Janko Tipsarevic.

“I wasn’t upset with the call, I just expect my umpires to know their left foot from the right foot,” the 28-year-old said in his post-match press conference, admitting that he had overreacted. “It’s the fact I couldn’t get her to admit it wasn’t the right foot which infuriated me, the lack of common sense was unbelievable to me. We have got to be able to have a test like ‘Point to your right foot, point to your left foot, now call lines. In hindsight, did I let it go too far? Probably. It was probably a correctable mistake and I let it get to me more than I should have.”

Roddick was serving at 2-5 in the third set, trailing his Serbian opponent by a set, when a line judge called the fault on what would have been an ace. The ninth seed appeared to ask the female official if it was his right foot which caused the fault and was told it was, when in fact it was his left foot which touched the line. “Not once in my career has my right foot gone in front of my left foot, never. That is unbelievable,” the 2003 champion complained. “Why don’t you get some umpires who know what they are doing? 1-800-rent-a-ref.”



As a result, Sky Sports commentator Mark Petchey has suggested that the game would benefit from a system similar to that used for lbws in cricket. “Do you think they should be allowed to challenge? Go to a second umpire who is watching it on slow-mo?”, Andy Murray’s former coach wrote on social networking site Twitter. “Just feel like it would A) add a little excitement B) make sure it’s right especially at crucial moments which is frustrating as a player and C) stop the bleating!!,” he continued.

Whether or not the suggestion is put forward to the authorities or not, it would be the latest in a series of innovations contrived to appeal to fans and make them more integrated into the game, such as giving the players’ boxes microphones.

Roddick went on to lose the match in four sets, a repeat of his loss to Tipsarevic at Wimbledon two years ago.

The fourth day of the US Open continues at Flushing Meadows, New York, from 4pm British Summer Time.


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