HomeSportsTennisVAR's tennis debut in US Open a 'farce': What happened? What's the...

VAR’s tennis debut in US Open a ‘farce’: What happened? What’s the new rule? Why was Andy Murray left fuming?

Andy Murray got off to a flying start at the US Open but his first-round win against Corentin Moutet at the Flushing Meadows was mired in an unnecessary video review (VR) system controversy. The video review system was introduced for the first time in Grand Slam tennis’ history after Moutet asked for the technology to be used to check a double bounce. Chair umpire Louise Engzell had initially awarded Murray a point for double-bounce. The incident took place while Murray was serving for a win in the third set of the first-round fixture.

Andy Murray, of Great Britain, reacts during a match against Corentin, Moutet, of France, during the first round of the U.S. Open(AP)

What happened?

Following Moutet’s request, the match official tried to watch the instant replay of the incident in order to make a fair judgement. The footage, however, showed that the point was correctly awarded to Murray. Engzell brought out headphones and attempted to check the replays on her tablet. But her endeavour went in vain. The Swedish umpire later announced that match officials could not check the incident properly as the video review technology was “not working.”

The incident was indeed baffling and the newly introduced system was branded as a “farce” by Andy Murray. “It took about four minutes to make a decision. I’m pro using technology to get to the right calls – but you’ve got to have it working. When it goes like that, it turns into a bit of a farce,” the 36-year-old was quoted as saying by BBC.

What exactly is the video review system?

The US Open previously turned out to be the first Grand Slam to introduce the video review system. The brand-new method was brought in to help chair umpires in making fair calls. The new system allows players to challenge a number of decisions, including calls related to foul shots and double bounces. “The VR official and VR operator will then send the video to a screen on the chair umpire’s chair as well as stadium screens when available,” according to a document on the US Open media site.

Chair umpires will check the evidence to judge if the original call needs to be overturned. If proper and clear evidence is not available, the original decision will stand. Players are allowed to have three challenges for each set. Another challenge will be offered to a player for the tiebreaks.


The video review system is expected to bring in fairness and rule out any sort of biases while passing a verdict. The ATP has already used the video review method in its previous tournaments. The impact and effectiveness of the new method have reportedly been welcomed by many.

Despite its solicited clarity and fairness, the video review system failed to make an impactful start in the Grand Slam. The much-talked-about method could do hardly enough to impress Andy Murray. “I don’t know exactly how it’s supposed to work and who’s supposed to make the decision on it because it was quite clear from the second video that the ball had bounced twice,” the 2012 US Open champion said, as per news agency AFP.

Overcoming the technological obstacles, Murray ultimately succeeded in prevailing over his French opponent 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. In the second round of the US Open, Murray will be up against 19th seed Bulgarian opponent Grigor Dimitrov.

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