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Old 05-19-2012, 04:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by woodrow1029 View Post
Moose, McEnroe was partially correct. Crossing the net to look at a ball mark is a code violation, but not a default.

As to those arguing wit moose about the old time umpires checking ball mars, moose is correct.

Back then, if the player wanted a mark checked, he had to ask the line umpire. A lot of the old school linesmen didn't want to be shown as wrong, so they would only look at a mark if they knew they would be right.

If the player argued with the linesman, and the linesman was unsure, the only way a chair umpire could go look is if the linesman yielded to the chair.

Then it evolved to where the chair could go after the linesman if they were fairly certain the linesman went to the wrong mark.

Then thankfully it evolved to the way it is today.

Meaning that balls were sometimes checked. Barazzutti says that, if memory serves him well, it would have meant a point to go up 5-3 in the third set. Says he saw the ball clearly out. Turned around to talk to the linesman to come see the mark, and right away, while he had his back toward the net, Connors ran over to his side and erased the mark.

Connors later claimed he didn’t remember doing any such thing, according to an article in SI in 1978.

“[…] the bluster and forced antics culminating in the mortifying episode at Forest Hills last year when Connors ran around the net onto the other side of the court and erased a ball mark that his opponent, Corrado Barazzutti, was citing as evidence of a bad call. (Connors says now that he blacked out on his feet and doesn't recall the incident.)”

It’s astonishing to me that such behavior went unpunished and is considered "funny". And it seems even more amazing (not less) in the context of the fact that umpires back then were supposed to be stricter and quicker than today to give warnings even for small things like toweling off. But when it came to the Connors antics (and later McEnroe’s) they just let them get away with incredible tantrums and abuse. Isn’t that odd? I mean, isn’t that really odd? Strictness for the small sins, but systematic leniency for the outrageous ones. Toweling off is awful, but “you’re an abortion” or running to erase marks on the other side of the net is okay. It took more than a decade of tantrums for Mac to be defaulted in Australia. And it took until 1986 for Connors to be defaulted for “aggravated behavior” in Boca Raton. Ah, but toweling off was a serious crime. How does that explain or excuse the fact that Connors was allowed to do such things? It doesn’t. To me, the Barazzutti episode is by far the most disgusting thing I've ever seen done by a big player on a tennis court, worse than the abortion episode, worse than Mac's smashing glasses, worse than any tantrum by anyone. No wonder Connors says he forgot all about it.
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