Russian girl slams umpire after furious on-court row | Sunday Observer

Russian girl slams umpire after furious on-court row

16 July, 2023
Mirra Andreeva
Mirra Andreeva

Mirra Andreeva claimed that she was wrongly docked a point after her dream of becoming the youngest Wimbledon quarter-finalist this century ended with her storming off court and refusing to shake the umpire’s hand.

The 16-year-old Russian had enthralled the Wimbledon crowd in surging to a 6-3, 4-1 lead but faltered after Madison Keys began volleying more and then reacted to losing the second set tie-break by hurling her racquet down the side of Court Two.

This prompted a code violation and warning for unsportsmanlike conduct from umpire Louise Azemar Engzell, before an even bigger controversy when Andreeva was serving to stay in the match at 2-5 in the deciding third set.

Having gained advantage at the end of a lengthy deuce game, Andreeva lunged to retrieve a Keys volley but lost her footing and then smashed her racquet into the turf at the edge of the court.

Engzell swiftly deducted a point, meaning that Andreeva had instantly gone from almost narrowing the deficit at 5-3 to facing match point against her.

he immediately walked to the net and protested her innocence, making the unconvincing claim that she had somehow lost grip of the racket because of the stumble rather than her anger at losing such an important point. “I fell… it’s the wrong decision,” pleaded Andreeva. “Do you understand what you are doing? I didn’t throw the racquet. I slid and then I fell.” The perceived injustice was then compounded on match point when an overruled line-call meant that she was forced into a second serve that Keys punished to reach the last eight for the first time in eight years. Speaking more than two hours after the incident, Andreeva was still adamant that the second throw of her racket had not been deliberate.

“Honestly, I didn’t have any intention to throw the racquet,” she said. “I slid. Honestly, I thought that I will fall forward. Maybe it did look like I threw the racquet. She didn’t do (the) right decision for me. That’s why I didn’t want to shake hands (with) her. She’s the umpire. She made the decision, so the match is over now.” (The Telegraph)