Novak Djokovic is the center of controversy this afternoon thanks to a missed call by the chair umpire during his quarterfinal win at the Sony Open Miami.
The incident in question occurred on the the first point of the 12th game with Murray serving 5-6. The video showed Djokovic’s racquet had crossed the net when he made contact with the ball he put away from a tap winner.
According to the ITF Rules of Tennis section 24.J, the player loses the point if “The player hits the ball before it has passed the net” which is what Djokovic did. Murray tried to point that out to umpire Damian Steiner who seemed to think that Djokovic’s racquet was not across but “over” the net.
Murray asked Djokovic, a longtime good friend, for clarification and possibly to concede the point but no further action was taken.
After the match, speaking to ESPN’s Brad Gilbert Djokovic admitted that he hit the ball while over the net, but he didn’t think that was an issue since he didn’t touch the net. And he expressed confusion over the rule. Djokovic added that the call clearly impacted Murray mentally and changed the course of the match. Djokovic went on to break and then took the match 7-5, 6-3.
So either Djokovic really doesn’t know the rule or he just plain cheated.
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