This is just one of the strangest things I have ever seen happen in a tennis match. I think it’s safe to say that Julie Kjendlie has had better weeks.
-Up 4-1 in the first set, Azarenka pounces on Errani’s 2nd serve and hits an unreturnable backhand that is initially called out.
-Azarenka challenges the call, and it is overruled. The ball was in.
-Kjendlie awards the point to Azarenka, but Azarenka doesn’t hear her do so, so they argue for a bit before the misunderstanding is cleared up.
-Once it becomes clear that Kjendlie is giving Azarenka the point, Errani begins to argue. She says that she got her racket on the ball, so the point should be replayed since the “out” call stopped her.
-Kjendlie tells Errani, “Maybe you did. I can’t remember.” Errani is bewildered. “You don’t remember? I touched the ball!” They exchange those sentences for a bit before Errani finally suggests that Kjendlie ask Azarenka for confirmation.
-So Kjendlie does. She calls over Azarenka, who is ready to move on. “Victoria, can you help me out?” (SERIOUSLY.) “If you can just say she touched the ball, then we can replay the point. I don’t remember her touching the ball.”
-The replay (that they cannot see on court) clearly shows that Errani got her racket on the ball, but was not in a position to hit it back because Azarenka’s shot was too good. However, the timing of the “out” call does make it slightly questionable.
-Azarenka asks if the call was late. Kjendlie once again says “I can’t remember.” The tournament supervisors come out to talk with her, and it seems like they just tell Kjendlie it is her call. (DUH.)
-Errani continues to argue that she touched the ball with her racket, and is exasperated that Kjendlie can’t remember. (Rightly so.) The crowd starts to get antsy, Azarenka is adamant that it’s her point, Kjendlie looks like a deer in headlights, the tournament supervisors have no clue what to say, and chaos is everywhere. “HOW COULD YOU NOT REMEMBER?” Errani shouts again.
-Eventually Errani realizes it’s hopeless, she laughs and goes back to serve again. She lost the match in straight sets.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an umpire lose control of a situation so quickly. On one hand, I give her props for admitting she can’t remember, because it’s her job to remember things like that. On the other hand, even if you can’t remember, you still have to keep order on the court. Don’t involve Errani, Azarenka, and the tournament directors in the decision. RIDICULOUS.
What do you guys think? Have you ever seen anything like that? How should Kjendlie have handled things?