Um­pire went‘ beyond pro­to­col’ with Kyrgi os

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Um­pire Mo­hamed Lahyani went “beyond pro­to­col” in try­ing to help Nick Kyr­gios but will con­tinue to of­fi­ci­ate at the US Open, tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers have an­nounced.

With Kyr­gios trail­ing Pierre-Hugues Her­bert by a set and 3-0 and show­ing lit­tle ef­fort, Lahyani took the un­usual step of climb­ing down from his chair and hav­ing a lengthy chat with the Aus­tralian, dur­ing which he was heard to say: “I want to help you. You are great for ten­nis. I know this is not you.”

Kyr­gios sub­se­quently turned the match around to progress to the third round and an an­noyed Her­bert said after­wards he felt Lahyani had over­stepped the mark. He was backed by Roger Fed­erer, Kyr­gios’ next op­po­nent, as well as a num­ber of cur­rent and for­mer play­ers on so­cial me­dia.

For­mer Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pat Cash called on Lahyani to re­sign. But a state­ment from the US Open read: “Af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive re­view con­ducted by US Open of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing US Open tour­na­ment di­rec­tor David Brewer, tour­na­ment ref­eree Brian Ear­ley and oth­ers, the US Open de­ter­mined that chair um­pire Mo­hamed Lahyani’s con­duct dur­ing Thurs­day’s sec­ond-round match in­volv­ing Nick Kyr­gios and Pierre-Hugues Her­bert went beyond pro­to­col.


“Lahyani was ad­vised to ad­here to proper pro­to­cols in all matches that he of­fi­ci­ates mov­ing for­ward. Lahyani will con­tinue to of­fi­ci­ate dur­ing the 2018 US Open. His per­for­mance will con­tinue to be eval­u­ated, as will that of all chair um­pires through­out the course of the US Open.”

The in­ci­dent was the talk of Flush­ing Mead­ows, with Her­bert claim­ing the match changed from that mo­ment, al­though Kyr­gios, who has been pe­nalised for a lack of best ef­fort in the past, in­sisted it had lit­tle ef­fect.

The Aus­tralian said: “I’m not sure it was en­cour­age­ment. He said he liked me. He just said that it’s not a good look. I wasn’t feel­ing good. I know what I was do­ing out there wasn’t good. I wasn’t re­ally lis­ten­ing to him, but I knew it wasn’t a good look. It didn’t help me at all.”

Her­bert com­pared Lahyani’s in­ter­ven­tion to the on-court coach­ing al­lowed on the WTA Tour and say­ing: “I think this was not his job.”

Fed­erer said: “It’s not the um­pire’s role to go down from the chair. You don’t go and speak like that in my opin­ion Con­ver­sa­tions can change your mind­set.”

The um­pire re­ceived sup­port from, among oth­ers, John McEn­roe and No­vak Djokovic, who said: “Know­ing Mo­hamed, I re­ally don’t think he meant to do it for any other rea­son but to re­ally try to help Nick to un­der­stand that if he con­tin­ues do­ing that he might get fined or a warn­ing.”

Aus­tralia’s Nick Kyr­gios takes a break dur­ing his match against France’s Pierre-Hugues Her­bert

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