Coco Gauff calls for video replays after controversial decision during French Open loss

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff emphasized the importance of incorporating a Video Review (VR) system in tennis, as she became emotional during a disagreement with the chair umpire regarding a disputed call in her loss to Iga Swiatek in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Coco Gauff - Figure 1
Photo Sky Sports

The third seed player from the United States, who became the champion of the US Open in September and earned her first-ever Grand Slam title, failed to return Swiatek's serve while leading 2-1 in the second set. A line judge called it 'out', however, the chair umpire disagreed with her argument that her shot was affected during the process and turned the decision around.

"He made the call and I swung at the ball. I am absolutely certain," Gauff expressed with anger. "If he had called it before I hit, I would have stopped my motion. I didn't even complete my swing."

Tourte was firm in his belief that the call made did not have an impact on Gauff's shot.

"I disagree," Gauff emphasized. "This isn't the first instance. It's a shame that you're not aware of the protocols in a Grand Slam semi-final."

As the match progressed, the 20-year-old was seen wiping her tears away by the side of the court. However, she managed to gather herself together and make a comeback by breaking Swiatek's serve. Unfortunately, her efforts were not enough to prevent the top seed from securing a victorious 6-2 6-4 outcome.

To the reporters, Gauff shared that she felt overcome by the situation. She mentioned that she was aware of not succeeding in the match.

Every point is crucial when competing against her, or anyone for that matter. However, it's even more essential when facing her. It was just a momentary lapse, but I managed to push past it and emerged victorious in that match.

Typically, I am not easily annoyed by choices such as that one, but I believe it was due to a culmination of various factors occurring at that time.

Gauff isn't the initial athlete to request for technology to aid umpires. British player Cameron Norrie, in fact, also supported the use of video replays after he got lucky with a double bounce that went unnoticed during his win against Lucas Pouille in the second round at Roland Garros last year.

Last year, the US Open implemented this system, making it the first Grand Slam to do so. The video reviews have received favorable comments from various ATP events where it has been utilized.

Gauff expressed her opinion that tennis stands out for lacking a VR system and frequently relying on one individual to make crucial decisions.

I am aware that the US Open introduced it last year. I recall using it during one of our doubles matches. It's a bit absurd that we haven't implemented it across the board. I'm not just saying this because it happened to me, but it seems like a standard feature in every sport.

Moreover, numerous determinations are formed, and it's disheartening for a player when they recheck or go online, and confirm that they were thoroughly correct. It leaves them wondering, what is the use of it at that time?

Sometimes when you are in a difficult situation, you may ask to speak with the supervisor, but unfortunately they may not be able to offer much help. I believe that as a sport, we must progress and take advantage of the technology available to us. If the technology is visible on television, then it should also be visible to the players.

Regarding the idea of replays, Swiatek mentioned that there might be additional obstacles to overcome. She admitted that she isn't certain how such a process would be implemented in practicality. As the top-ranked player in the world, Swiatek has experience with various types of challenges on the court.

When is it appropriate to request an umpire to review a video footage, or is it solely their responsibility? Based on my observation, the umpire we had today seemed very confident in her decision.

I am unsure of the appearance it would have.

In the Open Era, Iga Swiatek is the second most youthful tennis player to have earned a spot in the fourth women's singles final at the French Open. The only one who accomplished this feat at a younger age was Steffi Graf in 1990.

In the Open Era, she has achieved 34 main draw victories at Roland Garros, which is the least amount of matches played for any player. This accomplishment puts her on par with Chris Evert's record of 36 wins.

Swiatek has achieved a remarkable feat in women’s singles Grand Slam events by winning eight matches against opponents ranked in the top 10 in her first 10 such encounters within the last 40 years. This accomplishment puts her on par with Martina Navratilova.

The tennis player from Poland has become the third person to consistently reach the final at the French Open, while being ranked as the top player in the world, since the official rankings were introduced in 1975. This feat has only been achieved previously by Martina Navratilova, who accomplished it four times in a row from 1984 to 1987, and Steffi Graf, who made it to the final three times in a row from 1988 to 1990.

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