The extra intensity of team tennis has surprised many visitors here this week, used as they are to Wimbledon’s more genteel rhythms. On Thursday night, we also encountered an old-style umpiring row, of the kind that Hawk-Eye – the ball-tracking system which is absent from this event – has mostly eliminated.
After losing a lengthy encounter to Great Britain’s Katie Boulter, the Greek No 2 Valentini Grammatikopoulou complained that three line calls had gone against her in the deciding set. “If I lose, I want to lose nice,” she told reporters. “It’s really unfair to play like this.”
Grammatikopoulou stopped short of accusing the officials of colluding against her. Indeed, it would have been hard to argue partisanship on the part of German chair umpire Evelina Oehme, the person she was unhappiest with. But Grammatikopoulou did suggest that Hawk-Eye should have been provided.
“Hawk-Eye is from Britain,” she said, “so we were a little surprised that they didn’t put it here. This referee [chair umpire] was not so good, so I’m really disappointed in Fed Cup. Three calls, all at deuce. You can watch it actually, and I will show her the balls were out.”
This statement was made within seconds of the match finishing, so Grammatikopoulou was relying on her own judgment. However, TV replays showed the only overrule Oehme got wrong was one she made against Boulter in the dying moments of the second set.