ATP TENNIS NEWS • CHAIR UMPIRE SUSPENDED FOR “OUT OF CHAIR” DISCUSSION WITH KYRGIOS DURING U.S. OPEN

Written by: on 16th October 2018
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ATP TENNIS NEWS • CHAIR UMPIRE SUSPENDED FOR "OUT OF CHAIR" DISCUSSION WITH KYRGIOS DURING U.S. OPEN  |

The aftermath of much debated umpiring decisions at the recent U.S. Open continues to roll on with the news the ATP World Tour has suspended veteran Swedish official Mohamed Lahyani for two weeks following his controversial ‘out of chair discussion with Nick Kyrgios.

 

Lahyani, aged 52 and regarded as a top flight umpire after being awarded gold badge status by the International Tennis Federation in 1997, has been suspended without pay for his actions. He will miss the upcoming China Open in Beijing and Rolex Shanghai Masters before returning to the ATP World Tour at the Intrum Stockholm Open that begins in the Kungliga Tennishallen on October 15.

 

In the views of some observers, Lahyani broke his supposed agreement of impartiality and stood accused of favoritism for Kyrgios, giving the controversial world no.27 a motivational pep talk during the second round match in New York against France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

 

At the time, Kyrgios was perceived as showing little effort as he trailed by a set and 3-0 down. Lahyani left his chair and was heard to say to the controversial Australian: “I want to help you. You are great for tennis. I know this is not you.”

 

Umpires are not allowed to offer any sort of advice or encouragement to either player and are expected to stay perfectly neutral.

 

Kyrgios subsequently recovered his dominance and proceeded to turn the match around, winning 4-6,7-6, 6-3,6-0 and so and annoying Herbert who was adamant afterwards that Lahyani had overstepped the mark – sentiments which were echoed by Roger Federer who eliminated the Australian in the next round.

 

The U.S. Open management decided not to take action against the Swedish official after maintaining Lahyani ‘went beyond protocol.’ Subsequently the ATP World Tour’s own international investigation into the incident has taken a stronger line and yesterday confirmed Lahyani’s suspension.

 

Herbert commented in New York he thought Lahyani should be sanctioned in some way. “This was not his job,” said the Frenchman. “I don’t think he’s a coach, he’s an umpire, and he should stay on his chair for that.”

 

In a statement sent to The New York Times, the ATP World Tour maintained their decision to take disciplinary action was because Lahyani is a full-time employee that had to abide by the ‘hide standards’ of the organization. The ATP does not have any jurisdiction in relation to the US Open.

 

“Mohamed is a world-class and highly-respected official. However, his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire,” Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP World Tour’s Executive Vice President of Rules and Competition, said in a statement.

 

“Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour. We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”

 

Editors Note – Mo is the best chair umpire of this generation. He is also a very much loved and respected among the ATP players. He goofed big time. He became “COACH MO”. The U.S. Open won. They got a Saturday match between Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios. Tennis is promoted so poorly • How many ticket buyers ever heard of Herbert. His fave partner Mahut ️maybe. But John Isner and Wimby and Mo all factored in there.. Or most great singles and doubles players…They know the top four to a handful. That’s it. MO Enjoy the time with your family. Take a much needed rest. The heat must have gotten to you. We still love you MO. (LJ)

 

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