Tennis-Zverev frustrated by line call after French Open final heartbreak

  • Tennis
  • Monday, 10 Jun 2024

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 9, 2024 Germany's Alexander Zverev looks dejected after losing the men's singles final against Spain's Carlos Alcaraz REUTERS/Yves Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - Alexander Zverev rued the absence of electronic line calling at the French Open following his five-set defeat by Carlos Alcaraz in Sunday's final, where the German was on the wrong end of a controversial decision that ultimately proved costly.

Alcaraz outlasted Zverev 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1 6-2 and there was a crucial moment in the decisive set with Alcaraz serving at 2-1 and 15-40. The Spaniard's second serve was called out, but the chair umpire checked the mark and called it in.

Zverev protested in vain and later said he had been proved right by the Hawk-Eye system, which is available to the media at the French Open but not to officials on court.

"I heard at 2-1 the second serve was out. From the Hawk-Eye data, I saw that. I break back there, I have break chances and then in the next service game, the fifth set can go the other way," a dejected Zverev told reporters.

"But it is what it is. Look, he played fantastic. He played better than me in the fourth and fifth sets."

Among the Grand Slams, the U.S. Open and Australian Open (both hardcourts) have had electronic line calling in recent years while Wimbledon (grasscourt) has stuck with human line judges but the players are able to challenge calls.

The French Open is not in favour of replacing line judges as traces left by the ball on the clay help referees check decisions.

Zverev had only once before reached a Grand Slam final, at the U.S. Open in 2020 when he was two points away from victory against Dominic Thiem.

"I felt like this Grand Slam final I did everything I could. At the U.S. Open I gave it away myself. It's a bit different," Zverev added.

"There's a difference whether you're down 3-1 in the fifth set or you're back to two-all. That's a deciding difference.

"It's frustrating in the end, but it is what it is. Umpires make mistakes. They're also human and that's okay. But of course in a situation like that, you wish there wouldn't be mistakes."

Zverev, however, admitted he was beaten by the better player.

"We're both physically strong, but he's a beast. He's an animal, for sure," Zverev said.

"He changed his tactics a lot in the fifth set, started to play a lot higher, deeper for me to not create as much power. Especially with the shadows on the court, it was slower again.

"He's a fantastic player, and physically he's fantastic."

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Toby Davis)

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