Wimbledon 2019: Lleyton Hewitt doubles penalty with Jordan Thompson
Aussie legend Lleyton Hewitt found himself at the centre of a bizarre umpiring farce when he and doubles partner Jordan Thompson were denied a point in dramatic fashion at Wimbledon.
The moment came in the second set of the Aussie team’s second round loss to former finalists Michael Venus and Raven Klassen on Saturday morning (AEST).
Hewitt and Thompson had game point on Hewitt’s serve deep into the second set when the 38-year-old former Wimbledon singles champion punched a smart backhand volley at the net right down the tee in a crisp winner that ended a lengthy point.
After his sweet volley, Hewitt immediately pumped his fist and turned to Thompson, who responded with a celebration fist clench of his own.
All in the blink of an eye, the Aussies bumped fists and were walking to their seats for a change of ends at 6-5 when chair umpire Gregory Allensworth leaned forward into his microphone.
The veteran official bizarrely stripped the Aussie duo of the point for celebrating before the end of the rally, despite the standard celebrations appearing to occur just a fraction of a second before Hewitt’s volley bounced twice.
The celebrations also appeared to do nothing to distract the Kiwi and South African at the other end of the court.
Allensworth’s decision was even harder to understand after his explanation to the small crowd out at Court 14.
“Ladies and gentleman, the players celebrated before the point is over, by rule, lost point,” Allensworth said, as he announced that the point had been awarded to Venus and Klassen.
English tennis commentator Nick Lester couldn’t understand what was happening.
“What has happened here,” he said.
“Oh, he is such a stickler isn’t he.”
Thompson slumped and put his head in his hands. Hewitt gave a furious shake of the head and stormed away from the chair umpire back to the service line.
The Aussies went on to lose the second set in a tiebreak and eventually fell to the No. 3 seeds 6-3 7-6 6-2.
Technically the umpire called a deliberate hindrance.— Richard Ings (@ringsau) July 5, 2019
If you deliberately act to hinder your opponent while the ball is in play, you lose the point.
Watching that clip a few times I couldn’t see any hindrance.
A very tough call.
It’s not even the most discussed penalty handed out to an Aussie at the All England Club this week.
Bernard Tomic reportedly plans to appeal the mammoth $80,657 fine handed down by tournament organisers after his terrible performance in his first round loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tomic was beaten in just 58 minutes — the second quickest three sets loss ever seen at Wimbledon in the men’s singles — as he was sanctioned for another tanking performance.
He’s now told The Herald Sun he will challenge the fine because he came into the match not having a chance because he felt unwell.
“I was run down and became a bit unwell over the weekend,” Tomic said.
“From the start of the match I knew I had very little chance because I was feeling down but I thought I would go on court to try [because] it’s Wimbledon.
“I had no chance, it was 6-2, 6-1 before I knew it.
“The third set was a little better but still felt quick. At the end of the day, my best efforts were super poor that day but it’s all I had.
“My movement normally is pretty bad, it just became super slow motion on court. Tsonga was serving amazing and taking so little time between serves, pushing me to also play.
“Sorry, guys, for feeling unwell.”
Originally published as Hewitt at centre of Wimbledon rule storm