Nalbandian Robbed In Isner Epic

It was 8-8 in the fifth set and David Nalbandian and John Isner had been doing battle for over four and a half hours leaving minimal hope that either player will still be walking tomorrow let alone playing well against Feliciano Lopez on Friday.

Isner was serving at 30-40 and Nalbandian looked like he might break when French umpire Kader Nouni stepped in and ruined a brilliant match. Isner served down the middle and the ball was called long by the linesperson but Nouni overruled. A confused Nalbandian took a moment to register, the crowd screaming loudly, and requested a challenge.

This is where is all went wrong.

Nouni denied Nalbandian’s challenge saying it was not made in a timely manner.

I should take this moment to point out that the rules of a Hawk Eye challenge do not specify what a “timely manner” means. Most players trot over to the line have a look and then challenge and are warned first but I don’t remember anyone ever denying a challenge before, especially not at 8-8 in the fifth set in a Grand Slam.

Nalbandian summed it up best himself, saying it is “ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires. Can you be that stupid to do that in that moment?”

Isner was cramping and not calling for the trainer as rules specify but Nalbandian was essentially screwed by the system that gives the umpire free range to make such high stake decisions that are completely unusual.

Nalbandian called on match referee Andreas Egli as he protested but was not rewarded. Isner went on to hold serve for a 9-8 leave and then broke the agitated Argentine to take the match as the crowd and social media went into over drive condemning the decision of Noumi.

Nalbandian shook hands with Isner at the end of his match but his racket lay destroyed at the back of the court.

The serve was a fault.

Nalbandian’s challenge would have been correct. Nouni’s overrule was wrong,  his denying Nalbandian the right to challenge was absurd.

It’s time for a “timely manner” to be defined clearly.

Too late? How many times everybody check the mark and ask for the Hawk-Eye? So somebody from the umpires or ATP, somebody can explain to me this situation.

I mean, what is this? This is a grand slam…I mean, I don’t see the video, but I don’t think it was too late to call.

John say: ‘Yeah, ask.’ I mean, the Hawk-Eye, and umpire didn’t want to.

It’s ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires.

What is this? What did the ATP do for this? I didn’t understand in that situation, 8-all break point.”

4 Responses to Nalbandian Robbed In Isner Epic

  1. I believe it was very noisy at the time… The umpire asked Nalbandian if he wanted to call…
    Nalbandian turned back to the square to search for mark… At that time I found it okay to proceed. But if John was fair to say it would be okay to check with Hawk-Eye, then the umpire should have agreed to that. I got a déjà Vu-feeling from French Open once when Mats Wilander winning said he wanted to replay the match-point… Nalbandian should have known better than discussing further though. It was then he lost the match… Even John Isner was in bad shape, but recovered during the break…

  2. Agree. In addition, what I saw was that Nalbandian that immediately saw the serve was wide, but either did not hear or did to understand Nouni’s overrule. He immediately walked to the chair and asked for clarification. Then when he understood what Nouni said, he immediately raised his finger and clearly said “I challenge.” I was shocked when the chair did not allow the challenge, and so were the USA commentators on ESPN2. I do agree that a challenge should be made immediately, but in this case it was immediate, as soon as Nalbandian understood there was an overrule by the chair. English is not the native language of the Chair or Nalbandian which should have influenced the bad decision by Andreas Egli to avoid making a correction. Who knows what his native language was. I was most disappointed in Isner who was insincere in saying (after match interview) that he turned his back and did not se it. In reality, Isner walked over the the chair complaining how long Nalbandian was taking with the match referee, which was to long at all, wanting to get on with the farce. Thank you for your post and a place for this US tennis fan to vent.

  3. Never ever Nouni again, that’s the only thing left. A shame!

  4. They need to be more specific with the rules. If they were things like that wouldn’t happen and it wouldn’t ruin a great match.
    For e.g. Immediate challenge to challenge a shot within a point remains as is but the challenging after a ace/unreturnable serve or last shot of a point needs to be done within 3 sec of the ball being called in/out. That would stop this wandering up have a look.
    It was just NOT the time to make a stand against “timely” challenges when on Rod Laver Arena they were taking their sweet time to challenge

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