The Australian summer of tennis got off to an embarrassing start with a bizarre malfunction on the very first point at the United Cup in Perth.
Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina kicked off proceedings at the RAC Arena on Friday morning.
Serving first, Seyboth Wild launched a big serve down the tee, but it was clearly long and Davidovich Fokina let it go, expecting a fault to be called.
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However, there was just silence.
The United Cup uses electronic line judges, but there was no noise from the Hawk-Eye technology.
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Davidovich Fokina immediately protested to chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani, who called for the replay to be shown.
There was a lengthy delay before the umpire explained the replay couldn’t be found and said the “original call stands.”
Replays showed the ball was clearly out. Credit: Channel 9Alejandro Davidovich Fokina protests the bad call. Credit: Channel 9
After more complaining from the Spaniard and the team captain, Lahyani announced: “the system is now good to go.”
Courtside commentator Todd Woodbridge was down the other end, but said it looked “well long” from his vantage point.
“Not the perfect start for the electronic line calling system,” he said on Channel 9.
“There’s a little glitch to get things started here, thankfully it’s the opening point and not a break point or set point.”
Replays shown inside the court then clearly showed the ball was out, but the point still stood despite more arguing from Davidovich Fokina.
It looked like they were asking why Lahyani didn’t overrule the decision.
Prominent tennis commentator José Morgado couldn’t believe it.
“Oh my god, the hawk eye live flops in the first point of the year. A Wild’s serve was 20cm out, everybody saw it, no call,” he tweeted.
Fans were left baffled by the incident.
“Seyboth Wild’s first serve to kick off the #UnitedCupTennis was way long. The umpire was asleep and the electronic line calling didn’t catch it. Get your act together,” one fan tweeted.
“That ball was 3cm out on first serve from Wild. Great start to the season,” another said.
“They better fix this quickly, otherwise the whole thing loses credibility,” another added.
Despite the strange start to the match, Davidovich Fokina never lost focus and after a tight first set, he ran away with the match in a 6-4 6-0 result.
Australia’s United Cup campaign begins on Friday night with a match-up against Great Britain, with the action in Sydney to start from Saturday.