Dan Evans' outburst at Italian Open proves tennis has a problem

Evans lost and was not helped by a bad call.
Dan Istitene/GettyImages
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One of the easiest things to do as a sports fan is to complain about the officiating. Of course, officials are human beings too and make mistakes, but the assumption is that because they are the non-partial part of a match or a game they need to be correct almost 100 percent of the time on calls. Otherwise, they very likely could accidentally change the outcome of the contest.

Recently at the Italian Open, American Sofia Kenin had an issue where she did not feel the court conditions were in proper shape to play; she felt they were too wet. She argued with the chair umpire and the Italian audience began to boo. Kenin may have overreacted and said a profane word to the crowd.

Andrey Rublev has had issues with his temper throughout his career but earlier in 2024 he was defaulted after he argued vociferously with a lines person and then the chair umpire. Not only was he claimed to have said a derogatory term that he clearly did not, but the call he was arguing about was a wrong call.

Dan Evans was right and tennis was wrong and this is now an issue

The same happened with Dan Evans this week during his opening match at the Italian Open. He was trailing in the third set 1-3 but his opponent, Italian Fabio Fognini, was serving at 30-40 and hit a ball that was wide. Had the call been correct, Evans would have broken serve with a chance to get the match back even on his next service game. Fognini went on to win the match.

The chair umpire walked over to where Evans was saying the ball went out, actually backed into Evans when Evans was showing the spot, and the umpire said that where Evans was pointing was the wrong spot. The video review showed Evans was correct and should have gotten the break. After disputing the issue with the chair umpire, Evans was eventually issued a warning. All because he was arguing a call that he was right about the officials were wrong.

This has become an issue in tennis recently. Thankfully, much of this should be fixed with electronic line calling that goes into effect at most ATP events in 2025, but the way officials handle players' complaints needs to be better as well. While players can go a bit overboard - Evans did speak profanity when talking to the chair umpire, but he never became overly irate - in how they react to a bad call then officials need to understand that if they make a bad call they need to correct the problem.

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