Saturday 1 October 2016

Pee-gate - Wimbledon umpire's refusal to allow toilet break leads to dramatic protest

Tom Allnutt

Published 04/07/2016 | 21:08

Pablo Cuevas of Uraguay (L) and Marcel Granollers of Spain (R) argue with the match referee during the Men's Doubles third round match against Jonathan Marray of Great Britain and Adil Shamasdin of Canada on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Pablo Cuevas of Uraguay (L) and Marcel Granollers of Spain (R) argue with the match referee during the Men's Doubles third round match against Jonathan Marray of Great Britain and Adil Shamasdin of Canada on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers staged a sit-down protest against the umpire during a bad-tempered doubles defeat at Wimbledon on Monday.

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Uruguay's Cuevas and Spaniard Granollers lost 6-3 4-6 6-4 3-6 14-12 to Britain's Jonathan Marray and Canadian Adil Shamasdin but a marathon match was overshadowed by anger vented at French umpire Aurelie Tourte.

Cuevas and Granollers sat down and refused to play in the final game on Court Seven after Tourte handed the pair a second code violation and one-point penalty, giving Marray and Shamasdin three match points.

The punishment came after Cuevas hit the ball out of the court in frustration, having started the game with two double faults.

A supervisor had to be called and around 10 minutes later, play resumed, with Marray and Shamasdin winning their second match point to seal progress to the fourth round.

The contest had been tense throughout, starting with some poor early line calls, before matters came to a head at 9-8 in the final set when Cuevas was refused permission to take a toilet break.

His reaction earned him a first code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

"It was during a changeover," Marray said.

"Something to do with a can, something to do with bathroom breaks. I don't know what happened.

"I went to the bathroom twice during the match and obviously the fifth set was a long one. I think you should be allowed an extra toilet break if it's five sets."

Marray and Shamasdin were made to wait on court while their opponents refused to compete and umpire Tourte even began announcing a third code violation before the supervisor intervened.

It capped an ugly day for officials at the All England Club after Serena Williams had earlier threatened to sue if she injured herself as a result of the slippery surface on Centre Court.

Williams, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, later said the comment was made only in "the heat of the moment".

"I don't think it's ever nice to see," Marray said of Cuevas and Granollers' behaviour.

"You have to respect the officials regardless of whatever happened in the match.

"You can have a word or two but they're trying to do a job and you have to respect that.

"You have to take some bad calls on the chin at some point and get on with playing the game, especially at a tournament like this but also throughout the whole year."

Shamasdin believed Tourte could have handled the situation better.

"I don't think the chair umpire really had the match controlled," Shamasdin said.

"She made a few mistakes early on at both ends. We were all on her and she was definitely flustered. I don't think she handled it correctly."

Marray and Shamasdin, who were given wildcards to enter the tournament, will now face Treat Huey of the Philippines and Belarusian Max Mirnyi in the quarter-finals.

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