Pliskova Endures Rare Tennis Moose, Goes Nuclear On Chair Umpire

Pliskova Endures Rare Tennis Moose, Goes Nuclear On Chair Umpire article feature image

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia (not pictured) on day three of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park. Pliskova won 7-5, 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Highlights

  • Karolina Pliskova lost a tough three-set match Wednesday to Maria Sakkari.
  • She lost her serve at 5-5 in the third set after an egregious line call.
  • After losing the match, she snubbed the chair ump (and physically beat the chair), and tennis Twitter blew up.

It’s hard to get “moosed” in primary Tour matches, per se, in tennis.

I mean, bad losses are a dime a dozen — but they’re usually due to a player imploding mentally. But in the tennis community, we call those “melts,” not mooses.

However, the one exception happens on clay, as Hawk-Eye (the computer system that tracks the path of the ball to determine if a ball stays in or not) is not utilized on clay courts. Instead, the chair ump makes that determination if a player challenges a call. While most of the time the ump can accurately determine where the ball hit based on the impression of the ball on the dirt, sometimes it gets a little muddier.

One of those instances occurred Wednesday in a match that had Karolina Pliskova ringing that rare tennis “moose alarm” from Rome.

In the third set against Maria Sakkari — with the score knotted at 5-all, deuce — Pliskova appeared to hit an overhead winner that would’ve given her the “advantage” in the game. But as Pliskova strutted back to the service line (preparing for game point), the chair umpire announced: “ADVANTAGE … SAKKARI.”

Now, I’ll let you guys watch the footage for yourself. In my opinion, it wasn’t even close. I watch a lot of tennis, and have seen a lot of “close calls,” but, frankly, this one looked clear-cut. The ball looked two or so inches in.

But, apparently, a linesperson called the ball out on-court … and the chair umpire DIDN’T KEEP HER EYES ON THE BALL MARK — and, thus, chose not to overrule what appeared to be an egregious call.

Now, instead of a game point for Kaja, she found herself staring down a break point. Which, naturally (in true moose fashion), she lost. And, wouldn’t ya know it, Sakkari swiftly served out the match at 6-5 and completed the upset — with a little help from her friends along the court.

Pliskova would get her money’s worth, however, after the match. Following an awkward handshake with Sakkari, Pliskova chose not to shake hands with the chair — I’m almost positive she faked it. She then proceeded to take her frustration out on the physical chair, itself.

And those in Pliskova’s camp were equally discontented with the performance of chair umpire Marta Mrozinska, including fellow Tour member, and sister, Kristyna Pliskova, who tweeted this:

I don’t know what to say. I feel for Pliskova. And if I bet on Pliskova, I’d probably react how her coach did. I also might start tossing around the #blacklistforever hashtag on Twitter.

But since there is no “tennis blacklist” — and we’ll never eliminate human error — we should at least settle for the next best thing: HAWK-EYE ON CLAY COURTS. HAWK-EYE ON ALL COURTS, really. I still find it mind-boggling that some of the outer courts at GRAND SLAMS, for krissakes, still don’t utilize Hawk-Eye. In 2018. (It is costly, but the game needs it.)

Matches should never swing on a point like that. Ball was two inches in. I was streaming the match this morning in like 240p (grainy low definition), and even I could still see a space in between the ball and the line with my own naked (eagle) eye.

Although I’m sure those who bet Sakkari +355 aren’t complaining about the lack of Hawk-Eye. Don’t forget that there are two sides to every bet. Nice hit if you cashed on the juicy Greek underdog.