• ‘They were clearly aiming to change the context,’ says WSACK chief • Tennis Association chief receives call from IOC’s Lamine Diack
The World Tennis Association’s chief executive, Steve Simon, says the International Olympic Committee’s call to Peng Shuai was “very much orchestrated” and “a really cheap shot”.
The Chinese player complained last week after a line judge was called for a double fault in the women’s doubles final at the Australian Open, which triggered an outcry from tournament organisers.
The line judge, Jennifer Chatrier, was escorted from court by security. Peng and her partner, Shuai Peng, won the match against French duo Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia.
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Simon said the IOC wanted to change the narrative on the ATP Tour after an incident involving a line judge during the 2017 Australian Open, when it was led by Lamine Diack, then president of the International Tennis Federation.
“The thing about these things is they are very much orchestrated. It wasn’t spontaneous,” Simon told BBC radio. “Lamine Diack used to call a lot of lines, he used to call in a lot of calls. You wouldn’t have ever thought it was orchestrated.”
The same judge and a line judge were in action during the Chinese pair’s victory against France, though no penalty was given. It was the first Australian Open women’s doubles final to be decided by a default since 1990.
The Canadian pair Francoise Abanda and Gabriela Dabrowski also complained last week after a line judge awarded their win to another player in the women’s doubles final at the Australian Open. In that case, there was no decision handed out.
The ATP responded by appointing a neutral supervisor to the match for the subsequent tiebreak and post-match conference.
Tennis authorities have faced heavy criticism for their perceived reluctance to sanction line judges.