It was a homecoming match for Milos Raonic on Monday as the Canadian star made his first appearance at the National Bank Open since 2019 and only played in his third tournament since returning from a long injury break in June. And while she managed to stun Frances Tiafoe in the Canada Masters opening, where she threw 37 aces to take the ninth place after coming back from a loss in a 26-point tie-break, it wasn’t a pleasant trip for the 32. The one-year-old boy who remained enraged at the end of the first set after a controversial call.
This may have been the world’s last home tournament at number 545 before he said goodbye to the sport, but he managed to bounce back in a shocking fashion by winning last year’s US Open semi-finalist 6-7(12) 7-6(4) 6-. 3.
However, rather than the massive win and comeback in the match, the talk centered around the controversial net call at the end of the first set tie-break. The American was leading 13-12 at the tie-break when he managed to stay in the rally before taking the lead with a dropped shot from Raonic. Tiafoe smashed the ball through the net impressively, but while doing so she hit the net post, implying that many believed Raonic had scored to level the score again.
ATP rules state that a player accepts a point if the ball touches the net before it bounces twice. And so, chair referee Fergus Murphy signaled that Tiafoe had lost the point, but then quickly took it back, explaining that the part of Tiafoe hit by the net does not count as part of the rule in singles tennis.
“Frances, wait, this is a bit of a mess,” Murphy told the players. “This part of the net does not count as touching. After singles only post [does a touch count]”
The change of decision sparked a long discussion on the Internet, and Raonic called out to the supervisor, explaining the same thing and angering the veteran player. And he smashed his racket on the way back to the bench, while Tiafoe smiled and boos came from the stands.
Murphy explained: “Mr Tiafoe rushed to the part of the net that didn’t count, it’s a permanent fixture, so he didn’t touch the net and took a winning shot.”
Speaking in an on-court interview at the end of the match, Raonic reacted to how the issue was handled, accusing Canadian Open officials of lying.
“I don’t believe they were completely honest, but that’s what happened. I think they handled the situation poorly. Regardless of the rule, I don’t think it’s handled (well). It pissed everybody off, it got everybody excited, it got everybody more involved in the game, and I think it gave me some momentum and some strength going forward.
Raonic will play Taro Daniel in the next round.
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