Controversies & Conspiracies

Jan 25, 2009

Cheating is a topic that you rarely hear mentioned at a tennis tournament, but in the first week here there has been one serious accusation pointed at a player which is currently under investigation.

There was a situation in a match here yesterday between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Dudi Sela where Sela’s coach was seen to be texting on his mobile phone. Television cameras also picked up footage of Sela peering intently at something he was holding inside his bag, which he later admitted was his own phone.

His explanation for this was that it had been heard vibrating with what he said were messages from friends back in Israel, and he was attempting to turn it off at the request of the umpire.

The matter is currently being looked into by officials, with Sela denying any accusations of cheating.

One thing I have noticed through this tournament is that there seems to be an awful lot of players looking up to their coaches and getting their opinion about line calls before deciding to send it to hawk-eye for a challenge.

While I am most definitely in favour of using the technology, I think players should be doing this without any help from someone on the sideline who often has a better view of the situation than the player.

This is something that officials will have to keep a close eye on this season, and make some sort of stand. They either allow this coaching to occur, or penalize a player for seeking approval from the stands before asking for a challenge.

As it stands now, the challenge is meant to be made immediately, but it rarely occurs without input from the stands. I am yet to see a challenge refused on these grounds, but apparently in a match a couple of days ago between Almagro and Monfils the umpire did refuse a challenge. This is a precendent I’d like to see followed.

There was also an interesting (tongue-in-cheek) theory raised in one of the papers over here today about the number of players who have been wearing the same bright colored yellow shirts, and dresses. They showed a collage of ten players who had all played matches in the same fluro coloured clothing.

The suggestion is that the clothes can have the effect of camouflaging the ball, which in the fast paced version of tennis that is the modern game, could possibly give a player a very slight edge at some stage in a match…

…or so the conspiracy theorists believe.

Written by: Crooksy

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