Rafael Nadal had to make a bizarre request to the match umpire in his 6-3 6-4 loss to Roger Federer in Shanghai today.
The 30-year-old Spaniard seemed to believe that there was a problem with the ‘let’ sensor on the net and asked for it to be switched off – he had just sent a ball miles clear of the net and it still said that he hit it.
According to Sky Sports commentator Mark Petchey, Nadal had asked the umpire to turn the technology off, whilst co-commentator Peter Fleming shared a joke about turning off technology.
In days gone, the ‘let’ sensing device was essentially a guitar string hang just above the net, but in recent years, it has become more sophisticated.
The electronic line judge was implemented in 1974 during the Men’s World Championship Tennis in Dallas in an attempt to modernise tennis officiating.
Later decades meant the system evolved to what it is today, but it hasn’t been without its controversies.
In August 2016, ESPN commentators lambasted the machine during the opening fixture of the Novak Djokovic and Jerzy Janowicz match.
With the match locked at two games each in the opening set, when Janowicz hammered a serve passed Djokovic, the sensors said that he had hit the net, however, and the point went to Djokovic wrongly.
Though later, the shot was declared to be about eight inches over the net – too late for Janowicz, though.
It’s not been made clear if the umpire for Federer vs Nadal took the 30-year-old Spaniard's complaint to heart and turned off the machine, but it would not have mattered either way as Federer was superb for the whole match.
The Swiss ace steamrolled his Spanish counterpart in straight sets, meaning he edges a little bit closer to his rival in the world rankings.
Despite not being happy with the electric machine, Nadal can have no complaints about the end result.
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