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Coco Gauff’s Coach Brad Gilbert Poses Serious Question to the ATP Tour Over Rising Controversy at the Monte-Carlo Masters

Published Apr 13, 2024 | 1:52 PM EDT

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Last year, ATP announced that Electronic Line Calling (ELC) will replace on-court line judges for all its events starting from 2025. But following the controversy during the Monte Carlo semi-final between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner Coco Gauff’s coach Brad Gilbert is left wondering why ATP is not going ahead with it earlier.

Expressing his disapproval of the ATP’s declaration of clay courts using line-calling system by 2025, Gilbert vented his dissatisfaction in a tweet following the Jannik Sinner vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas match. Gilbert posed a serious question on X. I will say again there is time for @atptour to make it happen, why wait till 2025 for electronic line calling…”

Tsitsipas was down 3-1 in the third set and facing a break point when a lapse in judgment from the officials saw them miss a double fault during the Greek’s second serve. This allowed Tsitsipas a way back into the contest and he went on to win  6-4, 3-6, 6-4. The controversial call marred a tightly fought match. Hence, Brad Gilbert is “disheveled” at the ATP Tour’s decision on the delay of electronic line calling.

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Gilbert further highlighted the repercussions of depending entirely on human judgment while officiating. Sin City probably kicking himself he didn’t and how did umpire miss it to.” He also brought up the missed double fault, “that missed double fault a 3-1 BP just shouldn’t happen”.

Jannik Sinner also took a swipe at a controversial line call during the semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Sinner claims the call caused him to cramp and lose focus, ultimately leading to his defeat. Sinner said, “It’s tough, a tough one to swallow because I was playing at some point great tennis. Everyone can make mistakes unfortunately or fortunately. You know, also I can make mistakes. And it went like this.”

“Then after, having cramps, it’s a consequence most likely of what happened because it also goes in the nervous side of the brain and then after, it’s not easy to play. I still tried to do the best I could,” he added. Tsitsipas also agreed that the call changed the match.

The Greek said, “I think the match would have turned out completely different if that would have been called out. I will agree that it would have been pretty bad for me if that call was made. There are a lot of weird things on clay that we don’t see on other surfaces. One of them is the line calling and sometimes the marking.”

ELC has been widely used on grass courts and hard courts. But its adoption on clay courts has been slower. Brad Gilbert’s objection is based on the idea that this kind of technology may stop mistakes from happening and hence should be implemented earlier across the board.

Electronic line-calling has been around tennis since the 1980s in some shape or form. Cyclops line-calling system was used during the 1980 Wimbledon to judge if a ball was in play or not. In 2003, the Hawkeye technology was brought to tennis but only for broadcasting purposes. But after Serena Williams was the victim of controversial and poor calls during the 2004 U.S. quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati, the International Tennis Federation approved the use of Hawkeye on the court, and in 2006, it was used in around 10 events, including the U.S Open.

In 2020 owing to the pandemic, the U.S. Open was played without line judges on all but two of the main courts. In 2021, the Australian Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to be played completely without line judges and a year later the U.S. Open followed suit.

Court-wide ELC live coverage will provide thorough player and ball monitoring during the whole tour. As a result, it will have an unprecedented volume of data for player performance analysis. Besides, it will also help in the creation of new game statistics. However, the delay in that approach has caught the attention of fans and many sports enthusiasts, like Brad Gilbert. Surprisingly, this is not the first time an umpire’s decision has been put into question at the Monte-Carlo.

Holger Rune demands justice at the Monte-Carlo quarterfinals

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Just about a day ago, Holger Rune expressed his dissatisfaction with the matter during his match. After two warnings in a row at the Monte-Carlo Masters, Holger sat down and asked to see the supervisor, Cedric Mourier, during his match.

The No. 7 seed made a talking motion with his hand in response to the jeers directed at him for receiving a time violation. He received an additional warning for “unsportsmanlike conduct”. This fueled the fire even more. He went to the empire’s chair to question the latest warning.

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“But I don’t deserve an unsportsmanlike conduct and ‘have to pay a fine for not even being rude,” he said to the umpire. Although he protested till the end and eventually went back to the court and resumed this play, the fans continued to boo. In the last set, Rune lost to Sinner with a score of 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.

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Even Daniil Medvedev wasn’t happy with officiating his round-of-16 clash with Karen Khachanov. The former world number 1 exclaimed, “They don’t know how to referee anymore,” after he was upset by a Khachanov shot that went uncalled in the penultimate game of the match.

To preserve the sport’s integrity as technology advances, the tennis community is coming together, calling for more accuracy in decisions. Brad Gilbert’s recent remarks only emphasize this further.

Written by:

Ankita Banerjee

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Ankita Banerjee is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She seamlessly blends her keen interest in writing with an ability to analytically comprehend things. During her college days, she contributed numerous articles to the college magazine, showcasing her early passion.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj