Jimmy Connors slams tennis tournament over treatment of Andrey Rublev

The tennis great had some harsh words for the Dubai Championships.

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We are a week away from Andrey Rublev having an emotional meltdown at the Dubai Championships after a lines person missed a call in a semifinal match that was tied 5-all in the third set. Had Rublev won the point, which he should have as his ball was called out but the video review showed the ball was in, it would have set up a break point for him. Instead, Rublev never made it to the next point.

The Russian was disqualified after arguing the point. He was not given a point warning because another lines person said that Rublev used a Russian slur directed at the lines person who had missed the call. Video does not show this and Rublev has disputed this occurred.

The situation stays in tennis news because of the complexity of it all. Had Rublev been dinged a point we might not be discussing the issue. Or had an electronic line system been used during the match the call would have been correct to begin with. But human error was followed by more human error and Rublev was told to leave.

Jimmy Connors defends Andrey Rublev

Tennis great Jimmy Connors said on a recent episode of his Advantage Connors podcast that is taking issue with how Andrey Rublev was treated in Dubai. In fact, Connors said that if the tournament handled player disputes the same way when Connors was playing he, John McEnroe, and others would have never made it through much of the event. They would have been disqualified early on.

Connors said, "...what’s wrong with getting heated? What’s wrong with that? You’re putting everything that you have into what you’re doing, you know, which is trying to win a tennis match against an opponent who’s trying to kick your a** at the same time...(for a tournament to) default (Rublev), you know, not give (him) a warning, not give (him) a point penalty, but just saying, ‘You’re done.’

"They’ve totally taken his voice away, you know, to where he has to go and conform to whatever has been thrown at him...Connors, McEnroe, (Ilie) Nastase, (Vitas) Gerulaitis, let me go through the list of guys who would’ve never made it through the tournament!...They’re taking all the excitement and the crowd appeal, bringing the crowd down too."

Of course, we have heard from tennis greats before about tournaments being so rigid with the player's code of conduct that it detracts from the game. Rublev screaming at the lines person was a bit much, however. Still, he should have at least been allowed to keep playing instead of an immediate disqualification that obviously confused Rublev and his opponent, Alexander Bublik, at the time.

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