Coco Gauff's coach calls for tournament to throw out umpire after heated Dubai scene

Gauff got into a lengthy discussion with chair umpire Pierre Bacchi during her Dubai round-of-16 match.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff's coach calls for tournament to throw out umpire after heated Dubai scene
© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

Coco Gauff's coach Brad Gilbert called for the introduction of "incidental challenges" in tennis and added that chair umpire Pierre Bacchi should be kicked out of the remainder of a WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai following the mistake he made in the Gauff and Karolina Pliskova match.

With Gauff fighting to secure the second set and force a decider against Pliskova, one of her serves was called out after Pliskova already returned the ball - the Czech's return went out. Gauff challenged the call on her serve - the challenge showed her serve was in - and she believed that she would have been awarded the point. But chair umpire Bacchi didn't agree with Gauff, giving her the first serve and telling her to replay the point.

In the next five minutes, Gauff found herself in a heated argument with chair umpire Bacchi, where she stood up for herself. While Gauff wasn't letting down, chair umpire Bacchi was also adamant in his claims and belief that he was right. 

But the replay revealed that Pliskova indeed returned the ball as if Gauff's serve landed in. The commentator even said on air "Coco Gauff is correct."

Coco Gauff and Pierre Bacchi
Coco Gauff and Pierre Bacchi© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

"This is exactly why you should have incidental challenges," Gilbert wrote on X. 

The incident quickly went viral on social media as many applauded Gauff and threw Bacchi under the bus for failing to acknowledge his mistake and refusing to call the chair umpire despite the American rightfully demanding it.

Gilbert, who famously also worked with Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, didn't back down when revealing his true feelings on the situation and chair umpire Bacchi. 

"At a 1000’s should be absolutely mandatory to have electronic line calling, and this umpire should not work rest of tournament, in my humble opinion," Gilbert wrote in another X post.

Gauff's receives message from her 'proud' father Corey

Gauff, who is set to turn 20 in March, was 100 percent sure that chair umpire Bacchi made a blatant mistake and wasn't interested in letting that slide. For nearly five minutes, Gauff was fighting for herself and explaining to Bacchi why his action and decision just weren't fair or correct. 

Following the incident, Corey Gauff took to Instagram to issue a message to his daughter and the top-ranked American female tennis player. 

"So proud of my daughter. Standing up for yourself and fighting for fairness. You have the strength of your grandmothers who are 2 of the strongest women we know. While being passionate you remained respectful as you articulated your argument," Corey wrote on Instagram.

"The scene is so familiar to women and women of color pleading and fighting to be treated fairly and respectfully by their male counterparts. You are an incredible example to women and your generation on what it means to fight and despite not getting the outcome you wanted you stood up for yourself and successfully moved on.

"You are becoming the young woman I prayed for. God Bless you."

In the comment section, Gauff wrote to her father: "Aw thank you dad I love you so much! Thanks for being the best father. I would have never become the person I am without you."

'Fueled' Gauff went on to seal a comeback win

After the incident, Gauff managed to move past the incident mentally and impressively complete a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win. 

When the incident happened, Gauff was serving for a 5-2 lead in the second set. Gauff managed to hold to her service game in the seventh game and open a 5-2 lead but got broken back in the ninth game after missing out on four set points. But Gauff didn't allow Pliskova to fully get back into the second set, breaking the Czech again in the 10th game - when the Czech was serving to stay in the second set. 

In the third set, players firmly held on to their service games until the eighth game, when Gauff finally earned the first break of the decider to go 5-3 up. Serving for the match, Gauff faced some difficulty but managed to save two break points before converting her second match point to seal her comeback win. 

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

After the match, Gauff admitted that the moment with chair umpire Bacchi "fueled" her comeback win.

"It definitely gave me some adrenaline. Luckily I was able to overcome that pretty quickly. I'm glad I was able to reset," Gauff said after the match.

"I think it just fuelled me. I want to watch back the video... It's just one point. It happens in tennis. Players make mistakes; everybody makes mistakes. It kind of went upward from there for me.

"I was trying to tell myself to stay calm the next point. Sometimes I get angry and I go for too much. I was trying to let that not be the turning point for the set.

"Maybe I dragged it out a little longer than I needed to, but I did what I felt was best in that moment."

Coco Gauff