Wimbledon has not been short on drama this year and a men’s doubles team has caused more controversy. The pair of Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram briefly refused to play their doubles semi-final due to a hawkeye call.
During the second set of their quarter-final clash with French pair Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin, the duo believed they had broken serve at 5-5, only for the 12th seeds to make a speculative challenge given the significance of the point. They would be successful as Hawkeye deemed the ball to have caught the baseline, to the shock of the top seeds who were left fuming.
“No way, man!” exclaimed Ram as he protested the shock decision along with Salisbury. “That is absolutely ridiculous. There is no way, no way at all! We’re turning the machine off. We’re not in the future here, man.” Salisbury added: “There is no chance that is in. You know it is wrong! Can you get the supervisor?”
The furious pair took to their seats before turning to chair umpire Fergus Murphy and demanded the technology be switched off. Ultimately their request was not granted by Murphy and Ram and Salisbury carried on, but proceeded to lose the second set 7-6 and 7-1 in the tie-break.
The pair regrouped however and stormed through the third set, taking it 6-1, but Mahut and Roger-Vasselin battled back to level the match once again, winning the fourth 6-3. But Salisbury and Ram would not be denied as they claimed the final set 6-4 to progress to the last four.
In the men’s singles competition, Rafael Nadal will compete for a spot in the last four against America’s Taylor Fritz on Centre Court today. The Spaniard will hope to turn the tables on the 24-year-old after he handed him his first loss of the season in the Indian Wells final back in March.
“It’s obvious he [Fritz] is playing at a very, very high level, having a great season, winning matches everywhere,” Nadal said. “The week before Wimbledon he won the tournament [in Eastbourne]. Now [the] quarter-finals [here].” 11th-seeded Fritz believes his 6-3, 7-6(5) victory in California is the perfect template as he attempts to move past the Spaniard to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final.
“I was just very aggressive in that match [in Indian Wells],” said Fritz after his dominant straight-sets win against Jason Kubler in the fourth round at SW19. “[I] took my chances. Against someone like Rafa, that’s kind of how it is.
“I feel like decision-making is easy. I don’t really second-guess shots like I would if I’m playing someone that I’m supposed to beat. I might think, ‘Should I go for this, should I play it safe?’ Against someone like Rafa, it’s easy to always make the aggressive decision and kind of play freer.” In the other quarter-final, Court One will stage Nick Kyrgios’ battle with Chile’s Christian Garin and the winner will take Nadal or Fritz on Friday.