Thanasi Kokkinakis in ugly French Open furore as Alex de Minaur emulates Lleyton Hewitt feat

Some tennis fans thought the Aussie should have been defaulted for his actions.

Thanasi Kokkinakis has sparked an ugly storm at the French Open after blowing up and getting an umpire to overturn a call that went against him in his loss to Taylor Fritz. Kokkinakis played out a five-set epic for the third match in a row at Roland Garros, coming back from two sets down before bowing out 3-6 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 3-6.

The Aussie star was left incensed during the third set on Saturday night when he thought a winner from Fritz had actually landed out. Kokkinakis asked the line judge to show him the mark, and melted down when it wasn't the mark he wanted it to be.

"If you don't find the right mark I'm going to lose it at you," he told the line judge angrily before yelling "no, no, no, no, no" when the call went against him. Chair umpire Alison Hughes then came down to sort out the situation, asking Kokkinakis to show her where he thought the mark was. Inexplicably, Hughes then overturned the call without finding the mark - simply taking Kokkinakis' word that the ball was out.

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex de Minaur at the French Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis lost it at the umpires, while Alex de Minaur marched into the fourth round at the French Open. Image: Stan Sport/Getty

Fritz couldn't believe what was happening, coming to the net for an explanation. It's very common for chair umpires to come down and look at the marks that have been left on clay courts, but for Hughes to not find the mark and award the point to Kokkinakis anyway was baffling and bizarre.

Tennis fans and commentators were left fuming on social media. "That was the worst tennis umpiring I have ever seen in the Fritz/Kokkinakis match," wrote the Straight Talk Sports account. "The umpire can’t get bullied like that by players. That was handled so poorly. She shouldn’t be at any major tournaments for a long time. That was embarrassing."


Another person wrote: "What kind of umpiring is that in the fritz match. Umpire literally changed decisions from Fritz’s shot being in to out because she was scared of Kokkinakis."

While a third added: "What kind of call was that in the Fritz/Kokkinakis match? Are umpires usually allowed to just change their mind like that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before…" Some even suggested Kokkinakis should have been defaulted for the way in which he spoke to the line judge.

The controversial call helped Kokkinakis win the third set in a tiebreaker, and he then won the fourth to send the match to a fifth. The Aussie had been forced to play five sets in both of his matches in the first two rounds, but he ran out of steam against Fritz and was sent packing.

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur has become the first Australian man since Lleyton Hewitt 17 years ago to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros. The Australian survived a hail of winners from big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff to win 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3.

"Another huge mental battle," de Minaur said after his third-straight win in which he has been hampered by a rain delay. "It was probably one of my best performances, mentally, in my career to turn that match around with the conditions, with everything really against me.

Alex de Minaur at the French Open.
Alex de Minaur in action against Jan-Lennard Struff at the French Open.

"Everything couldn't get any worse, right? I knew that this was just his ideal conditions to a T. Slow, heavy, rainy, muddy, he's able to hit through the court and not make a lot of mistakes.

"I just told myself the only chance or way I was going to win was just to fight 'til the end, fight every single point, keep battling, try to stay in no matter what. That's what got me the win. Sometimes you don't get rewarded, but a day like today where I'm backed against the wall, a lot of things going against me, and managing to kind of find the gold at the end of the tunnel, it's huge. It kind of gives me that confidence that I can do it again and again now."

De Minaur will now face fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. The former World No.1 overcame Czech player Tomas Machac 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 1-6 6-4.

with AAP