LONDON – Controversy surrounds 23 seed Ivo Karlovic’s defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded 13. On set point towards the end of the match, it appears the Croat double hit the ball.
— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) July 4, 2015
Rule 24.f Player deliberately carries or catches ball in play on racket or delib. touches it w/racket more than once https://t.co/hWR35rJXU5
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 4, 2015
Whoa, boy. Looks like a double hit to me. Why tennis needs replay, not just for line calls. Huge miss https://t.co/tn7LEZy7Mr
— Dawn Rhodes (@rhodes_dawn) July 4, 2015
It is extremely important because Karlovic needed tiebreaks in order to defeat the Frenchman. He aced the tiebreaks in the first and third, but only won the fourth and final set by the two needed points. However, when Tsonga owned the set point, the incident occurred:
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, but, I mean, it’s the job of the umpire, you know, to see it. If he can’t see it, I can’t do anything. Even if I saw it, I can’t say anything, so…
Q. Do you think it should be the responsibility of a player to declare that on himself? They would in golf, for instance.
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Not really. Otherwise we don’t need umpire anymore. No, I think it’s just about the umpire to see it if it’s like this, and that’s it.
Q. You didn’t seem to complain at the time. I assume you didn’t see it when it happened?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: I just look at the umpire. He said no. I said okay, next point.
He grew frustrated at the questions towards the end, though. He said it is not important enough for him to keep talking about it because “it doesn’t change the results.” He said he doesn’t care “because it’s too late.”
But Karlovic’s serve dominated the game. He hit 41 aces with only five double faults. The majority of the important first serves went in and he scored 90% of his first serve points.
At the press conference, Karlovic insists it was one motion. A reporter pointed out he clearly used two motions. Karlovic argued it only looks that way “because it’s really slow[ed] down.”
“I was going to the net and he hit a crosscourt, and I just, like, stretched my arm,” he stressed. “Then the ball hit like down on my racquet, and then because it hit down, my racquet went like this, and then it hit like here, and then boom, boom. But it was one motion so that is legal.”
He will either face Andy Murray or Andreas Seppi in the round of 16.