Controversy struck the Australian Open Wednesday evening Melbourne. Embroiled in a deep, tense, tight fifth set with John Isner, David Nalbandian simply got screwed.
With Isner visibly cramping and near expiration at 8-8, ad-out, the American cracked a served down the middle. Initially, the ball was called out down the middle but chair umpire Kader Nouni promptly overruled the call giving Isner another first serve.
Nalbandian couldn’t clearly understand what had transpired but once he was told of the overrule he checked the spot and asked for a review. But Nouni wouldn’t allow it arguing Nalbandian took too much time to decide on the review, which was incorrect since there was confusion over the actual call.
Tournament supervisor Andreas Egli came to the court at Nalbandian’s request bu the Argentine wasn’t getting a look at a second serve on break point. Instead, Isner won the point, eventually held and, with Naldbandian stewing, broke David in the very next game.
And after 4:41, game, set, match Isner 46, 63, 26, 76, 10 8.
Q. It’s never nice to lose in very controversial circumstances, but clearly it was a pretty dispiriting end to the match for you.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Yeah.
Q. What do you make of the umpire’s decision in that 8All point?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: I asked for HawkEye and he make an overrule. Because the lineman call out. He overrule it. Was a lot of noises, so I asked what happened, because the lineman called out.
He told me he overruled it. And I say, Okay, I see the mark. I say challenge. Not a big deal. He don’t want to do it.
Q. Why did he say you couldn’t have HawkEye?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Too late. How many times everybody check the mark and ask for the HawkEye?
So somebody from the umpires or ATP, somebody can explain to me this situation. I mean, what is this? This is a Grand Slam.
Q. Then the supervisor came.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Yeah, supervisor say it’s umpire call. So what I have to do now? I mean, I don’t see the video, but I don’t think it was too late to call. John say, Yeah, ask. I mean, the HawkEye, and umpire didn’t want to.
I mean, it’s ridiculous playing this kind of tournament with this kind of umpires. What is this? What did the ATP do for this? I didn’t understand in that situation, 8All break point. I mean, can you be that stupid to do that in that moment?
Q. And a lot of crowd noise, as well.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: I mean, what the umpires need, press? Name? Be on the picture tomorrow? Incredible.
Anyway, I didn’t lose for that, but that’s was very bad situation. Was amazing.
Q. You took a break at 67 in the fifth set as well, a toilet break.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Yeah, I couldn’t hold it. (Laughter.)
Q. Yeah, but, you say you didn’t lose because of that. So how did it influence then the next game, the next point?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: He played a great game. I think I do just one mistake or I think I didn’t do any one. He played a very good game.
Q. Did you think about it or…
DAVID NALBANDIAN: No, I tried to not, but, never know.
Q. You have played many, many Grand Slam matches in your career. Is that as disappointing an ending as you can remember, as annoying from your point of view? It was a great match.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Yeah, it was a great match. But I think I think I lose another one like that, as well: semifinals US Open with Andy Roddick was another one, more important this second round today.
Yeah, but could be one of those, yeah.
Q. Do you know what the rule is for how long you have?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: It’s no time. It’s no time.
Q. There’s no timing manner?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Yeah, the time that the umpire see it.
Q. Did you see him hobbling late in the match? Did you think you wore him down, particularly when you got those break chances?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: No, no, no. You win the match when you won the last point, so it doesn’t matter what is going in the middle of that.
Q. Will you be making an official complaint to the ATP or to the supervisor or to the Grand Slam…
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Doesn’t make any sense. I mean, if they really want to do something, I don’t need to do anything, because it’s on the TV, on the video.
And every time talk to ATP, it’s like nothing, so what is ATP is for the players or for somebody else, the benefits?
Q. What would you do if you, in your next Grand Slam, you walk out and you see the same umpire in the chair? Would you be happy?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: I don’t think he I don’t think he’s gonna be able to do this kind of matches. I mean, it’s no doubt about it.
Q. You don’t think he’s qualified? You don’t think he’s up to it?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. No doubt. Nothing happen on the match, and in that moment, he call overrule, I call HawkEye, and he didn’t give it.
I never see something like that. So ATP have to check what they doing for the umpires. I mean, they practice? They what? I don’t know.
Q. Well, he spends most of his time umpiring on the WTA Tour. That’s true.
DAVID NALBANDIAN: (Laughing.) They serve too slow for these kind of guys.
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