French Open player uses phone to snap photo of ball mark

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PARIS — Angered by a line call at the French Open, a player pulled out his phone Monday and snapped a photo of the mark left in the clay by the ball.

Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky takes a picture with his phone after contesting an out-of-bounds call. He said he hoped to avoid a fine.  MICHEL SPINGLER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MICHEL SPINGLER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky takes a picture with his phone after contesting an out-of-bounds call. He said he hoped to avoid a fine.

Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine set down his racket and briefly became an amateur photographer in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 loss to seventh-seeded Richard Gasquet of France.

Stakhovsky plans to show the picture to the tournament supervisor in hopes of avoiding losing some of his prize money.

“I’m now expecting a fine, actually, so I’m going to go and fight,” he said.

“I believe it was a bad call, it was a bad judgment. After all, we are playing on clay, where you should be clearly able to read the mark,” he said, “and unfortunately, not all of our referees are able to do so.”

During the first set, the 101st-ranked Stakhovsky hit a shot that landed right along a line. The ball was ruled out, but Stakhovsky was sure it was in.

He argued with the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, who wouldn’t change the decision. So Stakhovsky got his phone, walked over to the spot and leaned over to get a close-up.

“It was just spontaneous. It’s never thought through,” he said. “When you see it, you get frustrated, because you saw the ball is nowhere being out and the frustrations comes in.”

He said he pulled a similar stunt at a clay-court tournament at Munich last month.

“Munich was a very close call which could go both ways, so I didn’t really bother going to the supervisor and asking. But this one is in a Grand Slam, so first of all, the fine is actually there, possibly, (and) I don’t want to get it. So I’ll try to explain myself. I don’t know if it’s going to work.”

At a clay event in Rome this month, another pro, Viktor Troicki of Serbia, ushered a TV cameraman out onto the court to get video evidence of a ball mark he was sure showed a call was incorrect.

“I saw that,” Stakhovsky said, then offered a critique of the camerawork on that occasion, saying the angle was all wrong: “They came from the side, so you couldn’t see the mark.”

Gasquet, for his part, agreed the call Monday was quite close and said he wasn’t bothered a bit by Stakhovsky’s antics.

“It’s funny. It’s not a problem,” Gasquet said. “He’s a funny guy. I think he’s one of the funniest guys in the draw. For sure, it’s not usual to see that, but I can understand he’s frustrated.”


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