VIDEO: Chair Umpire *ALLEGEDLY* Warns Donald Young for Saying, ‘Son of a Biscuit’

Earlier today, Donald Young defeated Alexander Zverev in the first round of the Sarasota Challenger. While leading 6-4, 2-1*, 15-30, Young netted a routine stretch backhand into the net. Being American, and limited in his choice of profanities, Young chose this.

“Come on Keith, don’t give me crap for that…I said ‘son of a biscuit,’ that’s a problem?”

Related: I wonder if Keith Crossland is a fan of Butters Scotch.

(Thanks to my buddy @NNemeroff on Twitter for the tip.)

Twitter Reacts to the Return of the Tennis: A Poem

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the ‘net,

tennis fans ’round the world were getting their alarms set.

They had been told what was coming their way,

and all they had to do was wait for the 26th day.

With 2013 all but behind them,

they looked forward to 2014 with great anticipation.

No prediction too wild and no dream too small,

they had awaited this day eagerly, all through the fall.

It first began with the #men in Abu Dhabi,

and some tried to make an exho matter because of Andy Murray.

With the Scotsman still in one piece,

their excitement for the new season wasn’t looking like it would cease.

The tennis that counted began under the Australian sun,

and although they could see none of it, that didn’t stop their fun.

Dushevina won the first game, Begu served the first ace, and forehands and backhands (presumably) flew all over the place.

Crouched over their laptops and glued to their phones,

tennis fans got back on their horses from the comfort of their homes.

While few may understand why they do what they do,

they do it all together, with me and you and you!

Happy 2014 to tennis fans far and wide,

I’m glad we’re all together for yet another crazy ride.

If Bernard Tomic Parties Hard, and Everyone Sees It, What Does It Even Mean?

Photo credit: Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images Europe

Photo credit: Zimbio & Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images Europe

Bernard Tomic is back at it, kids. Photos from Tomic’s 21st birthday extravaganza have hit the internet. Tomic, whose birthday is actually on Oct. 21, presumably waited until his holiday to celebrate reaching this milestone at the Gold Coast-area night club Sin City. A fitting place for the Australian to celebrate his passage into adulthood, considering he also is the proud owner of a yellow Ferrari with the license plate S1NC1TY.

Photo credit: sincitynightclub.com.au

Photo credit: sincitynightclub.com.au

The discovery of the photos comes just 24 hours after Lleyton Hewitt challenged Tomic to step up on the ATP Tour.

“He has his ups and downs throughout the year in terms of his results and he seems to get on a run for three or four weeks and then has three or four average losses for him. Bernard is obviously the next best player…he’s got to make the next transition now from 50 in the world to top 20 and hopefully top 10 and be a potential grand slam winner.”

After winning his first career title in Sydney in January and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, Tomic’s 2013 took a turn for the worse. On the court, he did not pass the second round in any of the ATP Masters 1000 events, lost his last five main draw matches and ended the year ranked No. 51. His controversial father and coach, John Tomic, was convicted of assaulting Bernard’s then-hitting partner Thomas Drouet in Madrid in May. The ATP banned the elder Tomic from all events in 2013 and will decide whether to lift the ban in May. He is also barred from entering the 2014 Australian Open.

Tomic has crafted quite the reputation for himself off the court in his young career, from standoffs with the police, traffic violations and….naked rooftop wrestling. On the court, he’s had his commitment questioned; the brothers McEnroe accused him of ‘tanking’ against Andy Roddick at the US Open in 2012, and Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter called him ‘disgraceful’ during the period of their dispute.

179 photos will live in infamy on the internet forever courtesy of the nightclub’s website. They feature Tomic in varying stages of undress receiving lap dances from some women (who are, oddly enough, fully clothed) and posing with an oversized bottle of Belvedere vodka.

Here’s the thing. Is anyone really in the position to condemn him for going out and doing something stupid on his 21st birthday? Probably not. However, because it’s Bernard Tomic, it matters. Last year on Tomic’s birthday, a fight erupted between him and a friend which needed to be broken up by police.

Maybe next year, his friends can just buy him a cake.

Oh Hi, Dusan Lajovic

Photo credit: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images Europe

Photo credit: Zimbio & Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images Europe

With Victor Troicki suspended and Janko Tipsarevic still injured, it’ll be World No. 117 Dusan Lajovic who will be playing second-fiddle to Novak Djokovic when Serbia takes on the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup finals in Belgrade this weekend.

You’d be excused if you didn’t know who Lajovic was before today. I didn’t, and Zimbio certainly didn’t. With that said, we’re living in the digital age and are blessed with the gift of the internet. The combination of those things have led to this.

Five Things You (Also) Probably Didn’t Know About Dusan Lajovic

1) His ATP bio says that he started playing tennis “by accident” because tennis was the only sport available for his age group. If he wasn’t a tennis player, he’d be a soccer player. Totally shocking. His goal is to win a grand slam (Wimbledon), but his favorite surface is hard courts. Go figure.

2) He was a member of the class of 2012 at ATP University, which exists to educate players about…well, the ATP. (Duh.) Topics covered include rules and officiating, giving back, one-on-one media training, marketing the tour, nutrition and personal finances. He was even quoted in the press release!

“I enjoyed learning more about the rules and the relationship between players and the ATP, that the ATP is here for us and by giving our opinions we can make improvements. It’s a valuable program. We have been playing tournaments for so long but I didn’t know what the organization could offer to me and what I can offer to it.”

3) His Twitter handle is pretty boss. @Dutzee, as he’s known on the site, apparently stems from a childhood nickname. A cursory glance reveals he likes mangos, watching TV and USA Network’s Suits. No word on if he likes to eat mangos while watching Suits.

4) He hangs out with Redfoo. (Who doesn’t at this point, really?)

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5) You can watch his only ATP-level win in the past 18 months in its entirety on YouTube. What a time to be alive.

He owns a 5-12 career record at ATP level, but is 35-16 in Challenger events this year and has won a title. He won’t be making his Davis Cup debut, as that came last year against Sweden. (Do I really need to say that playing FILIP PRPIC in a dead fifth rubber is an entirely different animal than playing Tomas Berdych in front of a sold-out crowd of his home fans? IN THE FINALS?)

I didn’t think so, but I’m glad we got that out of the way. (It totally is.)

Lajovic will take on Berdych in the often-critical second singles rubber on Friday, following Djokovic vs. Radek Stepanek. No pressure, right?

In Defense of Ball Marks: Why Hawkeye on Clay is Unnecessary

Francesca-Schiavone-umpire-Gbg

Since Hawkeye was introduced in tennis in 2006, it has taken on an air on invincibility. How many times has a commentator erroneously proclaimed that a player should challenge, emphatically convinced from their position in the booth that the call is incorrect? As much as John McEnroe would hate to hear it, officials are more accurate than the punditry give them credit for. The technology? Not so much.

ITF rules state that any review system must be able to judge a ball in or out within a five millimeter margin of error (0.20 inches). Incorrect calls are fine, so long as they are not wrong by more than 10 millimeters (0.40 inches). Paul Hawkins, the godfather of Hawkeye technology, said that its margin of error of the current system averages about 3.6 millimeters (0.14 inches). The standard diameter of an ITF approved tennis ball is 67 millimeters; mathematically, Hawkeye has a 5% margin of error as it relates to the ball.

Hawkeye is not a live picture, nor is it accurate representation of the ball hitting the court. At its core, Hawkeye is an “officiating aid”; it is not meant to completely replace the role of on-court officials. It is nothing more than a digitally-generated representation of court conditions and where the ball landed based on its trajectory off the racket. It’s no coincidence that the marks on Hawkeye replays look very similar to each other, regardless of what type of shot is being challenged. On clay, the mark is an actual representation of the ball hitting the court. Each ball mark will look different based on what kind of shot was hit, whether it be a lob, overhead, etc. Occasionally, there is an argument about a ball mark or reading from the chair umpire, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t happen very often at all. One misinterpretation might be beaten to death, but it doesn’t actually mean it’s an epidemic. Even though the occasional ball mark will be misread by the umpire, the risk of that is statistically far lower than a margin of error of +/- 3.6 millimeters on every ball.

In a sense, implementing Hawkeye on clay would be ‘put up or shut up’ time for the technology and its manufacturers. The mark never lies and players, officials and fans can finally see for themselves how many calls were upheld or overturned when they really shouldn’t have been. Set the scene for the worst case scenario, and a very plausible one. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are playing in a Roland Garros final, late in the fifth set. Nadal’s shot is called out on a break point for Djokovic, and Nadal challenges. The technology rules the ball in, but there’s a clear mark showing that it is in fact out. There’s no evidence to suggest that the technology is more accurate than the mark, so what’s right? That might be an extreme example but a valid, and very real, concern. The chair umpire’s hands are tied and control over the match is more or less taken out of his or her hands. On the other side of the coin, the credibility of the technology as a whole take a hit. What happens then?

So why has Hawkeye passed the test for accuracy on hard and grass courts and not clay? Briefly, the ball does not leave a discernable mark that can be read on either of these surfaces. On a hard court, Hawkeye cuts down on arguments because players recognize that the mark there is not always the full representation of the ball. In addition, the lines are painted on both these surfaces; they’re flat, and allow for Hawkeye to gauge a more accurate reading. The lines on clay are not even. This is another one of the biggest reasons why Hawkeye on clay can’t work.

“We decided not to use Hawk-Eye on clay because it might not agree with the mark the umpire is pointing at,” now-retired chair umpire Lars Graf said in 2009. “Most clay courts now have embedded concrete lines that sit a millimetre above the surface. This means that a ball that nicks the line, and therefore is in, does not show up on the clay but would show up as ‘in’ on Hawk-Eye. That would cause a problem.”

The same goes for “Hawkeye” that’s in place for television replays. It’s not an official review and used for nothing more than the entertainment of the television viewing audience. If the technology hasn’t been authorized for official use on the surface, and its accuracy on the surface called into question, it’s irresponsible to even be showing these kind of replays.

If some kind of electronic review is to be implemented on clay, an entirely new system would need to be developed. While Hawkeye is a great tool, it has its flaws and has no place on clay in its current form. Reading ball marks on clay has nothing to do with the ‘purity of the game’ or ‘being stuck in the past.’ No one should be convinced that a Hawkeye replay is actually more accurate than reading a ball mark. Until the day comes that Hawkeye has zero margin of error, it won’t be. It’s simple math.

“As a player, you love Hawkeye,” Mike Bryan said earlier this week at Roland Garros. “You know that it’s right on.”

But is it?

Real Talk: McEnroe Opens His Mouth, Talks Nadal at the French

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Rafael Nadal has been back on the ATP for three months, and it’s like he never left. Nadal is 21-2 on the year with three titles including decimations of the fields in Sao Paulo and Acapulco and a run to his third Indian Wells title on his “least favorite surface.” Nonetheless, Nadal currently sits at No. 5 in the ATP rankings with little opportunity to make a dent in the list due to massive numbers of points to defend from 2012. Even prior to Nadal’s defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo, snapping his streak of eight consecutive titles, the discussion about whether or not Roland Garros should bump Nadal up to a higher seeding has run rampant.

Guy Forget, a member of the Roland Garros seeding committee, first stated that it would be a shame to see Nadal and Djokovic potentially square off in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

“The rules state the grand slam events have the right to change the seeding regarding the situation of the players. Wimbledon has done that in the past,” Forget said. “I would not find it illogical to change the seeds.”

As if the continuing speculation wasn’t enough, John McEnroe threw his opinion into the bullring on Tuesday. In an interview with tennis.com, McEnroe made his feelings known on the subject in a way that only he can.

“Let me put it to you this way: I guarantee you that none of those four guys, as great as they are, want to see him in the quarters,” McEnroe said. “Quite honestly, I would seed him number one. I’d seed him number one, actually, because I think he deserves that. I think the other players deserve it.”

“Certainly, you can’t even possibly question if he should be [seeded] ahead of David Ferrer, as much as I respect him, or for that matter even Murray on clay,” McEnroe said. “Djokovic is the only one, given his accomplishments on clay, that you could possibly make an argument deserves to be seeded ahead of [Nadal]…I don’t know that they [the Roland Garros seeding committee] are willing to change the seedings at their event.”

Personally, the whole idea of changing seedings at slams has always been ridiculous. Wimbledon has a track record of this, notably bumping Maria Sharapova to the 24th seed at the 2009 event; Sharapova was on the comeback from shoulder surgery at the time and was ranked 59th in the world. There’s no doubt that Nadal and Djokovic are the prohibitive co-favorites to lift the trophy at Roland Garros; however, in a sport where ranking and the benefits that come with a certain number are so critical for 99% of its players, altering of seedings just seems to trivialize the others’ accomplishments.

Take McEnroe’s example of Murray and Ferrer. If the argument is to seed Nadal above them both due to the gulf in clay court prowess and accomplishments, then the same argument could be used to seed Ferrer above Murray. Murray hasn’t reached a semifinal on clay since Roland Garros in 2011, and many do not consider him one of the four best players in the world on clay. If Roland Garros is going to change the seedings to “show respect” for Nadal’s accomplishments, then where do they draw the line? Do his accomplishments matter more because he’s won 11 major titles? Does that not show him preferential treatment?

If Nadal wants to win his eighth Roland Garros title, the odds are great that he’s still going to have to defeat two of Murray, Federer and Djokovic to get there. Considering his combined head-to-head record against them on clay is 28-5, does it honestly matter the order in which he does it? Considering the history of unpredictability in Paris, it’s almost as likely that he’ll instead need to navigate a draw Wawrinka, Monaco and Amagro to reach the final. On the other hand, if Djokovic wants to win Roland Garros and complete the career Grand Slam, it’s almost a sure bet that he’ll have to beat Nadal to do it. If he loses to Nadal, and it doesn’t matter when, the entire point is moot anyway.

It’s up to the draw to decide, and no one or nothing else.

BREAKING: Bernard Tomic is Still…Something.

Fret not, people of Australia – it’s now safe to take the roads again.

Tomic, who was granted a stay of execution a 12-month one point license for good behavior after his “hooning” incident in an obnoxious orange BMW (which he later sold), was caught speeding at 78 km/h in a 60 km/h zone in an even more obnoxious yellow Ferrari (with the license plate S1NCITY on it) Tuesday. As a result, a $220 fine was levied against him and he lost three points on his license, leading to its suspension.

I find this incredibly entertaining. After simultaneously proclaiming himself the next GOAT and begging us to take him seriously for his tennis at the Australian Open, he goes and does this barely two days later.

As if his behavior wasn’t already offensive enough, he’s also single-handedly trying to bring cutoffs back in.

Bernie, since you’re not going to be using that Ferrari for a while, I heard a certain Sergiy Stakhovsky is still in need of one.

Get it Right: Grunting & Hindrance

I always tell myself that I’m never going to get involved with the two most ridiculous debates in tennis, grunting and equal prize money, but just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Let me preface this by saying this is not going to be a rant about the aesthetics of grunting. Some find it annoying, while others, such as myself, aren’t bothered by it at all. That’s completely acceptable; I’m not here to force my opinion on others, nor would I appreciate others forcing their opinion on me. However, I am here to address facts.

It is because of this that I felt the need to write this, against my better judgement; despite the fact that this non-issue has already been beaten to hell and back, the commentary on it points towards another, even more glaring issue in tennis.

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