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Berdych Double-Bounce Controversy Demonstrates Need for Instant Replay

During his 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) loss to Marin Cilic in Thursday’s US Open quarterfinals, Tomas Berdych looked to be cruising in the third set when suddenly his game went off the rails because of a good call by umpire Louise Engzell. You read that right –“good call”—and if that sounds strange to you, it should.

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But the crux of the matter here is that Berdych, who was convinced on the play (see Vine below) that he had gotten to the ball and made an incredibly sublime drop shot, should have been able to know that Engzell made a good call, rather than remain convinced that she had blown the call and that the world was against him.

Instead Berdych, who thought he deserved a 40-15 lead and two game points to take a 5-2 lead in the set, was left to stew and wonder why the umpire, his fate and the cruel world were all conspiring against him.

If you are rolling your eyes and saying Berdych should have manned up, dealt with the situation and won the game anyway, you’ve got a point. But another line of reasoning to take is that this whole incident could have been avoided if Berdych had been able to challenge the call and let officials decide after looking at instant replay. That way, Berdych could have had peace of mind and gotten on with the set, which until that point had been going quite well.

In this case, the umpire made the right call, but what if she hadn’t?

This hasn’t been the only case where instant replay could have created some clarity and helped to defuse tension and chaos during matches. The incident that comes to mind from this season is when Novak Djokovic reached over the net to play a ball against Andy Murray but was still rewarded the point. That incident caused Murray some anguish (and the call was wrong, and needed to be reversed) much in the same way that Berdych suffered on Thursday.

Tennis players suffer enough on court these days. They’ve got no coaches, no teammates, and they toil alone in a game that is maddening on a consistent basis. Shouldn’t the powers that be take the steps with regard to instant replay that could keep them sane?

What do you think?

Update: After watching the video and realizing he was wrong, Berdych issued this apology to the umpire on Twitter:

Photo Source: Getty