Andy Murray exploded into a fit of rage with umpire Mohamed Lahyani after a contentious call at a critical point of his Italian Open match against Fabio Fognini. The former world No 1 came into the Italian Open this week off the back of winning his first ATP Tour title in four years at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger.
He was given a tough opening-round tie against former top-10 player Fognini, who has been a long-term rival of Murray’s dating back to their teenage years. Murray was seen as the favourite heading into the match though with Fognini carrying an injury as well as struggling for form of late.
However, the Italian was showing exactly why he was a former top-10 player in the early stages of the match with some exquisite shots to cause Murray all kinds of problems. The British superstar was struggling to dominate on his own serve and Fognini eventually got the break.
Every service game continued to be a close affair from that point, until the seventh game with Fognini serving to go 5-3 up. The former French Open quarter-finalist managed to hold his serve with a sensational lob that was called in by the line judge.
Murray took one look at the line and wanted to challenge, bringing a smiling Lahyani down from his chair, who agreed with the original call. That prompted a furious response from Murray, who began shouting: “You can see the ball mark mate.
“Mohamed, look. How can you see that ball from there being in? How is it possible? You’re trying to make a mark now. You can see the clay is still there. You can see the ball mark.”
Murray accused Lahyani of trying to sabotage the mark and but the official eventually had enough of the exchange and ran back to his chair to get the match back underway. Murray looked exasperated that his pleas weren’t answered, going back up to the chair umpire one final time.
“You know you’ve got that wrong,” Murray screamed as he walked towards the chair.
Hawkeye footage was eventually played that proved Murray’s anger was well placed as Fognini’s shot was proven to have been out. But the Italian Open doesn’t use Hawkeye, much like the French Open, despite continued debate from the players.