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Mladenovic calls for VAR in tennis after controversy

By AFP - Sep 30,2020 - Last updated at Sep 30,2020

PARIS — Kristina Mladenovic called for a football-style VAR system to be introduced in tennis after her Roland Garros opponent profited from a double bounce to help knock the Frenchwoman out of her home Grand Slam on Tuesday.

Mladenovic was 5-1 up and with a set point against Laura Siegemund when the German scooped up a winner despite the ball appearing to bounce twice. The incident was missed by chair umpire Eva Asderaki.

World No. 44 Mladenovic pleaded in vain before Siegemund took full advantage, racing into the next round with a 7-5, 6-3 win.

“It would be great to have that,” said Mladenovic when asked if video replays should be introduced in tennis.

“It’d be a pity to replace a human with a camera but to err is human. I don’t see how the umpire could not see it. Unfortunately, she continues at Roland Garros but I do not.”

It was a second successive miserable Grand Slam for the 27-year-old Frenchwoman who was withdrawn from the doubles at the US Open earlier this month in a row over coronavirus.

Despite her disappointment, Mladenovic refused to blame Siegemund for not calling the incident on herself.

“Well, she would have been the best and most fair player on the tour if she would have done that. Unfortunately, she didn’t. I didn’t expect her to do it,” added Mladenovic.

“But if she would have done it, she would have all my respect and be super-fair play. She’s not the one responsible. I think the chair umpire is the one that should be really focused on that call. The set was mine. It was just unlucky for me that the chair umpire didn’t do her job.”

Siegemund defended not calling the double bounce herself.

“If in that call, I’m coming running full speed, if in that call I say, ‘Oh, it was a double bounce,’ and later I see on the video it was not, I would be angry at myself. So I think in that situation, that was a close call,” said the 66th-ranked player.

“That’s what the umpire is there for. I think she has better chances than me to see what has happened exactly.”

Siegemund backed Mladenovic’s call for video replays which would allow controversial calls to be reviewed courtside and, if necessary, overturned.

“If we have the technical devices to get a quick replay, I think that’s a good thing for all sports,” she said.

However, Siegemund insisted that Mladenovic had plenty of chances to kill off the first set even before the controversy erupted.

“I can understand her frustration. I can maybe understand a little bit that she’s getting at me, but I think she should get at the umpire. 

“She had plenty of other opportunities. It was just the wrong call, and that happens in sport.”

Mladenovic has seen crucial leads disappear before — at the US Open, she led Russia’s Varvara Gracheva 6-1, 5-1 and had four match points but still went on to lose in three sets.

 

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