Andy Murray rages over ‘truly shocking’ umpire blunder in Rome

Andy Murray was left seething with the chair umpire over a bad call that cost him a point during his Italian Open loss to rival Fabio Fognini in the first round. Murray and Fognini have history on the tennis court with the pair entering into a war-of-words at the net during a Shanghai Masters clash in 2019.

Both would have been desperate to one-up each other in their opening clash at Rome with their head-to-head all square, but the Italian prevailed against Murray 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a dramatic encounter. Fognini took the early initiative in the match having gone 4-2 up in the first set as Murray squandered three break points.

This would have incensed Murray, but he became absolutely infuriated when Fognini hit a winner when it appeared he hit the ball long with the scores at 4-3. Murray was left baffled the ball was called in and asked the chair umpire, Mohamed Lahyani, to check the mark and overrule the decision.

Murray pinpointed the ball mark and hawkeye showed the ball had landed out. However, clay doesn’t use hawkeye and the chair umpire didn’t agree with the Murray that the ball mark was accurate.

The three-time grand slam winner was enraged and pleaded his case. “How can you see that ball from there being in? How is it possible,” Murray asked Lahyani in disbelief.

“You can see the clay is still there. You can see the ball mark,” Murray said as the chair umpire pointed at what he was seeing. The commentators both agreed the ball looked out on the initial viewing.

“You know you’ve got that wrong,” Murray said as he followed the chair umpire back to his seat. The crowd started to jeer Murray during his anger, which cost the Scot a 5-3 lead in the set.

Fans claimed Murray was ‘robbed’ of a vital point in the first set in what was described as a ‘howler’ from the chair umpire.


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