There were extraordinary scenes at the Australian Open on Friday night when Stefanos Tsitsipas' father and coach was caught in what Jim Courier labelled a 'sting operation'.
Daniil Medvedev launched a furious tired at the chair umpire in his semi-final showdown with Tsitsipas, accusing the Greek star of receiving mid-match coaching from his father.
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"His father is allowed to talk every point?" Medvedev repeatedly asked chair umpire Jaume Campistol in an angry blow-up in which he called the official "stupid" and a "small cat".
While Medvedev's blow-up was confronting to watch, it seemed to do the trick as the umpires proceeded to launch a crackdown on the Tsitsipas team.
Fellow umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore was placed in a strategic position in the tunnel directly below Tsitsipas' box in a bid to detect any coaching going on.
Because Asderaki-Moore can speak Greek, she was the perfect undercover detective.
And the 'sting operation' paid off when Asderaki-Moore alerted Campistol to some coaching taking place and Tsitsipas was hit with a code violation.
“Eva Asderaki-Moore was positioned there with a couple of walkie talkies and my understanding from what I saw was that we might see Eva just positioned there the rest of this match to get a listen into the Tsitsipas coaching situation," Sam Groth said in commentary for Channel Nine.
“We can spot her. I think we have a freeze-frame. We can see where she is.
"She’s in the tunnel just right there in the tunnel. You can see the tan pants, the blue stop and the white mask.
“That is Eva Asderaki-Moore, the chair umpire. She’s just below, but out of vision.
"So basically it’s a sting operation. They’re not trying to intimidate and stop it, they’re trying to catch it. Pretty crafty.”
This is wild - Eva Azderaki-Moore, hidden in the tunnel, signalling to give the coaching violation. https://t.co/yrzQk7FFnD
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 28, 2022
Oh the drama!
There's an undercover Greek-speaking umpire & hand signals involved to suss out Tsitsipas coaching in this semifinal. https://t.co/llKeQpoPYk
— Zenia D'cunha (@ZENIADCUNHA) January 28, 2022
I can't recall seeing this before. Greek official Eva Asderaki-Moore standing in the tunnel below the Tsitsipas box to listen out for illegal coaching, and signals towards the match umpire when she hears it. Nicely executed officiating here. #AusOpen https://t.co/SzcI57qWln
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 28, 2022
Stefanos Tsitsipas not happy with coaching violation
Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas suggested it was unfair that he was targeted.
“I’m used to it. They’ve been targeting me already a long time,” he said in his press conference.
“I’ve gotten a few in the past and umpires are always paying attention to my box, never paying attention to the opponent’s box. I’ve been a victim of that for a long time.”
Medvedev said of the furore: “I don’t know what his father is saying. Maybe he’s just saying, ‘OK let’s go, next point’ and it’s completely allowed, there is no problem with it.
“But he says something in Greek just before I return and I’m there, I feel he’s even telling him (Stefanos) where to serve. I don’t know, I don’t know Greek.
“If my coach was talking to me in French before every point, even I would say stop it. It’s not allowed.”
The moment proved a huge turning point, with Medvedev winning every game that followed to run away with the victory in two-and-a-half hours.
"I don't think emotions like that help me too much ... many times I lose a match because of this," he said on-court of his umpire outburst.
"You lose concentration, lose too much energy ... as soon as I done it, I was like 'that was a big mistake'.
"But I'm happy that I managed to reconcentrate for the beginning of the third set .. 15-40 I managed to pull out some serves that brought me back into the match.
"His energy went down and mine was going only up, think it would have gone even more if the match continued."
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