Australian tennis player Astra Sharma has lashed out after a tournament supervisor’s offensive response to her complaints about a serious umpiring blunder.
As you can watch in the video above, the world No.134 was robbed of a game in a controversial loss in the first round of the Copa Colsanitas in Colombia on Wednesday.
Sharma, 25, won the first set but Giulia Gatto-Monticone progressed with a 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory aided by an unearned game in the third frame.
Gatto-Monticone trailed 0-30 in the third game of the third set, when the score was locked at 1-1, until the chair umpire Luis David Armenta Castro’s inexplicable mistake to gift the game to the wrong player.
After leaving his chair to confirm Gatto-Monticone had hit a ball out on Astra’s side of the court, Armenta Castro forgot the score.
The TV graphics correctly updated to 0-40 but the umpire called 30-15 – flipping the game entirely towards Gatto-Monticone.
Sharma returned a serve into the net for what should have been 15-40 but Armenta Castro called 40-15 in favour of Gatto-Monticone.
The next point was won by Sharma, who correctly assumed she had broken her opponent to win the game and began walking to her chair, only to be called back when the umpire said it was now 40-30.
“No, that’s not right. That’s not right at all. I think the players have got confused as well. This is most unorthodox,” the TV commentator said.
Gatto-Monticone won the next point and took the game, according to Armenta Castro, who was still unaware of his multiple errors.
Sharma appeared to stop and question the decision before believing she must have misunderstood the situation.
“This is, no – she’s been given this game. Well, it’s got me doubting myself but that should not have been the game for the Italian,” the commentator said.
“(Gatto-Monticone) leads 2-1, somehow, in set number three.”
Gatto-Monticone capitalised on the gift as a rattled Sharma lost the next four games and the match.
Supervisor’s unsettling response
Lifting the lid on the situation with a series of tweets, an infuriated Sharma revealed she was told to give up on arguing her case despite the obvious mistake.
“This was outrageous… I was told he was not sure of the score but since I couldn’t tell him how I won the points I could not delay the match arguing with him,” she wrote.
Sharma took particular offence to advice from a tournament supervisor who appears to have a reputation among players.
“Update: WTA supervisor said I should learn my lesson and focus more on the score instead of my tennis in the future,” she wrote.
“My confusion is not an excuse.”
The defeat cost Sharma a minimum of $1000 in prize money and 30 ranking points.
As baffled fans shared their frustrations with the episode, fellow Australian player Ellen Perez rushed to Sharma’s defence.
“There’s actually no excuse for this ridiculous mistake by the umpire and for the supervisor to defend it and blame the player for not focusing on the score is disgusting,” Perez wrote.
“Shame on you! So sick of umpires being a contributing factor to the outcome of matches.”
Sharma replied: “Yeah guess who the supervisor was?”
Perez confidently and correctly guessed the answer: “100% Cristina Romero. No need to even check the factsheet only one supervisor would say such a thing.”
Some tennis fans also pointed the finger at Gatto-Monticone’s sportsmanship after the Italian seemingly never raised the alarm and accepted the officials’ decision without question.