This week’s Australian Open qualifiers have proven to be a more controversial exercise than anyone could have predicted.
After the first day was heavily interrupted by bushfire smoke in Melbourne, and the beginning of the second day delayed for the same reason, players could be forgiven for being slightly on edge with the first major tournament of the year just days away.
Italian hopeful Alessandro Gianessi’s frustration got the better of him during the third set tiebreaker against Duckhee Lee, after the South Korean called for a medical time-out due to cramp while down 4-0.
Gianessi was furious that Lee was permitted the timeout, with cramping not usually enough to warrant a stop in play.
Tennis reporter Jose Morgado said Gianessi was ‘furious’ with the umpire.
The Italian reportedly yelled ‘this is not admissible’ at the chair umpire at least 10 times before play got back underway.
The break in play turned out to be just what Lee needed, storming back from four points down to win the tiebreak and the match - further infuriating Gianessi.
The Italian refused to shake hands with the umpire or his opponent after the match, storming from the court soon after.
Lee with a MTO... in the middle of the 3rd set tiebreak. pic.twitter.com/Jqq99yA8yA— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 15, 2020
Lee bounced back after losing the first set to win the controversial match 2-6, -7-5, 7-6, but many tennis fans felt there should be more to the story.
Some took to Twitter to suggest the South Korean should never have been awarded the MTO, with other calling for an investigation into the match.
Giannessi completely furious talking with the Supervisor.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 15, 2020
"This is not admissible", he shouted like 10 times.
Lee was cramping during the final set tiebreak and got a MTO for it, which is... not allowed. pic.twitter.com/xRbqj1yXtN
@AustralianOpen So are you going to review the illegal MTO taken by Duckhee Lee or no? He was clearly cramping. You aren't allowed a MTO for cramp. Gamesmanship is getting ridiculous now and the tournament hasn't even begun.— Mark.🌱 Ⓥ ❤Grace❤ (@MrAmazinglyAce) January 15, 2020
Alessandro Giannessi absolutely fuming and rightfully so after Duckhee Lee got treatment for cramping when trailing 0-4 in the match tiebreak.— Andrew Hendrie (@AndyHendy89) January 15, 2020
Lee went on to win it 10-7. Giannessi refuses to shake his hand and rips into umpire and officials.
Lee will take on Frenchman Quentin Halys in the second round of the Australian Open qualifiers on Thursday.
The Australian Open is set to get underway next Monday, despite concerns about the conditions in Melbourne due to bushfire haze.