2012 Australian Open Day 3: Nalbandian & the Challenge System

6 Quick Hits

  • Caroline Wozniacki did not look sharp yesterday.  She was lucky to not go 3 sets.
  • Rafael Nadal looks healthy; he also looked healthy in round 1
  • Donald Young is not as far along as some hoped
  • Sam Querrey has to feel good about winning a round and taking a set off of Bernard Tomic.  Sam is a long way from where he was in 2010, but he is back to playing meaningful matches.
  • Ivo Karlovic will face a rested Roger Federer
  • Someone needs to tell Alexandr Dolgopolov he is not being paid by the hour

Overhaul the Challenge System

John Isner recorded a huge 5 set win over David Nalbandian.  Still, the outcome is marred by an umpire’s overrule and refusal to allow for a challenge.  Nalbandian had a legitimate complaint.  The fact is some players do take too long to challenge.  Some players use it as a mini-timeout to break momentum and breathe.  These abuses of the system need to be addressed.

However, in a sport where shots are being hit very hard and human error is part of the equation, to not allow a challenge on an over rule is just bad form.  The line of sight the umpire has is worse than the line judge’s.  That is not to say overrules are not often correct, but if ever there was a case for using shot spot this is it.  Yet, the application of the system failed.

I think an umpire should have a limited number of challenges that he or she can issue during each set.  Sometimes people just don’t know on a call.  At a bare minimum, a player with challenges should be able to contest an overrule no questions asked.  I still think the option for a few non-player requested uses of shot checking technology per set only makes sense.  Players make errors, line judges make errors and umpires make errors.  Removing as many of these errors as possible will only help the sport.

PS – Happy internet protest day

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