Tennis icon Chris Evert rips Dubai chair umpire over 'shocking' Coco Gauff treatment

Evert reacts to a video of Gauff's lengthy argument with chair umpire Pierre Bacchi.

by Dzevad Mesic
Tennis icon Chris Evert rips Dubai chair umpire over 'shocking' Coco Gauff treatment
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

American tennis icon Chris Evert was left shocked after watching a video of Coco Gauff's discussion with chair umpire Pierre Bacchi in Dubai, asking "what is wrong" with the French umpire who "denied a respectful request" from the top-ranked American female tennis player. 

On Wednesday, world No. 3 Gauff felt she was a victim of an unfair call and chair umpire Bacchi refusing to acknowledge his mistake led to a heated five-minute dispute on the court. Serving for a 5-2 lead in the second set against Karolina Pliskova, one of Gauff's serves was called out - but it was a late call and happened only after the Czech already failed to get the ball back into the play. 

After challenging the call on her serve and seeing that her serve was in, Gauff was left stunned after chair umpire Bacchi told her to replay the point instead of giving it to her already. That led to a heated discussion and Gauff numerously requesting to see the supervisor - chair umpire Bacchi didn't grant it. 

“You called it out after she hit it," Gauff was heard telling the umpire... “Call the supervisor… you can’t deny me the supervisor. I’m gonna ask her what the rule is."

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

After realizing that she likely wouldn't get to see the supervisor, Gauff at least made sure chair umpire Bacchi would at least hear from her one more time. 

“Can you not cut me off for two seconds?” Gauff bluntly asked at one point. "You called the ball way after she hit it. It's not a feeling it's the fact. You called the ball out - I thought it was in - the ball bounced and you said out. It was a late call. Everybody knows you called it out way after she hit it. It should be my point."

Evert on the Gauff-Bacchi incident: What is wrong with him?

"I can't believe what I'm seeing. Coco had every right to see the supervisor, and her request was respectful and clear. What is wrong with him?" Evert wrote on X.

Andy Roddick, another American tennis legend, had a similar reaction to Evert's as the 2003 US Open champion was also left shocked at how Gauff was treated by chair umpire Bacchi. 

"This is an absurd exchange for this umpire. 1. He’s completely wrong 2. He’s lying about being wrong. 3. She must have simply said 10 plus times, I’d like the supervisor. That’s not a judgment call. He simply needed to honor that normal request and call the supervisor. Coco did well here. That’s before her opponent also not acknowledging truth (which she certainly didn’t have to do)," Roddick wrote on X.

Gauff got her revenge on the court after the incident

At the moment of the incident, Gauff was down by a set to Pliskova and fighting to stay alive. But getting very annoyed with chair umpire Bacchi actually helped Gauff as she then went on to claim a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win over Pliskova. Later, Gauff said the incident with chair umpire Bacchi "fueled" her comeback.

"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
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

After overcoming Pliskova, Gauff's Dubai run surprisingly ended the following day in the quarterfinal after world No. 40 Anna Kalinskaya came back from a set down to upset the American 2-6 6-4 6-2.

Early in the first set, Gauff had a break but Kalinskaya managed to get it back in the third game. However, blowing an early break didn't impact Gauff, who still easily won the opener after breaking Kalinskaya in the fourth and eighth games.

Down by a set, Kalinskaya impressively bounced back as she opened a double-break 5-2 set lead in the second set. Gauff managed to get one break back in the eighth game but Kalinskaya didn't make the same mistake twice, serving out for a decider in the 10th game.

Then, Kalinskaya completed her big comeback win over Gauff by breaking the American in the first and fifth games of the third set.

Now, Gauff will return home and probably rest and recharge for a few days before kicking off her preparation for the upcoming WTA 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.

Chris Evert Coco Gauff