Coco Gauff's coach issues clear statement after latest player-umpire drama in tennis

Gauff's coach Brad Gilbert shares his thoughts on the Andrey Rublev scene in Dubai.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff's coach issues clear statement after latest player-umpire drama in tennis
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Coco Gauff's coach Brad Gilbert highlights he is not approving Andrey Rublev's actions in Dubai but also adds that it's another case of why tennis needs to have the electronic line system across all tournaments. 

On Friday, world No. 5 Rublev was in the middle of a tense battle against Alexander Bublik when he felt that a line umpire missed a call at 40-30 on the Kazakh's serve. Rublev, whose frustration instantly boiled over, went to the line umpire and started shouting in his face. Another line umpire stepped up and claimed that Rublev was hurling obscenities in Russian - which led to the chair umpire Miriam Bley throwing the Russian out of the match.

When the replay was shown on the TV screen, it was revealed that Rublev's ball was in. But Rublev reacted the way he did and it was over for him.

Andrey Rublev, Dubai 2024
Andrey Rublev, Dubai 2024© Christopher Pike / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A week earlier, world No. 3 Gauff had a heated moment with chair umpire Pierre Bacchi and it was because the French umpire made what appeared to be a pretty blatant mistake. After her unreturned first serve was called out late, Gauff challenged the call and her serve turned out to be in. But chair umpire Bacchi refused to give Gauff the point, instead arguing that the point should be replayed. 

Gauff was pretty stunned by the entire situation as she was adamant that Pliskova returned the ball as if it was in. For a couple of minutes, Gauff was fighting for herself and called for the supervisor several times - but her request wasn't granted. Although Gauff went on to beat Pliskova in three sets, she wasn't happy about the situation at all. 

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

After the match, Gauff's coach Gilbert called for the introduction of "incidental challenges" in tennis and also said that every tournament should have the electronic line calling system.

"For the record I don’t condone what Rubles did to linesperson, even if didn’t swear at, that becomes judgement call for umpire  that’s 50-50  default, my beef: absolutely ridiculous to not have electronic court in Dubai... same issue with women’s week before," Gilbert wrote on X.

Gauff's coach, Bublik call for the electronic line system

At the moment of Rublev's disqualification, Bublik was 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-5 up. After a two-and-a-half thriller finished in a shocking but also pretty unfortunate way for both players and fans, one of the first things that Bublik did was call for the introduction of the electronic line calling in all tournaments. 

When making his point, Bublik - who eventually lost in the Dubai final to Ugo Humbert - made it pretty clear openly that he believes umpires are replaceable while players aren't.

"We have this proof every week that when the tournament is with electronic line-calling, we don't have these troubles. Players are not getting crazy. It's our passion. We play for this. We live for this. We grew up dreaming to be playing these stadiums," Bublik said after his match with Rublev in such a way. 

"Then some guy who is working for three years as a line judge, staying there deciding something. Then you come up to the situation like this. Is it fault of Andrey? Maybe. Is it fault of the umpire? Maybe.

"If we take the umpire out, we cannot take off Andrey. That is the thing. We cannot take off players. Players will be there. It's tennis because of the players, because we are playing this sport, not the opposite way around.

"We can take any umpire away -- and that would solve many issues."

Alexander Bublik
Alexander Bublik© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

Daria Kasatkina calls for a VAR in tennis

After the Gauff situation in Dubai, some instantly argued that having a VAR (video assistant referee) could benefit tennis a lot. Following the Rublev scene in Dubai, those talks only intensified. 

Not only that fans called for a VAR in tennis, world No. 12 Kasatkina did the same. 

"So you can just default a player, take his points and money away, without even checking a video replay??? What a joke, another confirmation we need a VAR in tennis and electronic line calling on all tournaments," Kasatkina wrote on X.

After her opinion was called out by one fan, Kasatkina said that umpires can make mistakes but that the only ones paying for that are players. 

"Ones I paid a huge fine for something I didn’t say just because the linesman thought she understood what I’m saying. So no, they cannot be always trusted. And btw we always are paying for our mistakes while they never even care about theirs," Kasatkina said. 

It will be interesting to see if the Gauff and Rublev situations lead to any changes in tennis.

Coco Gauff Brad Gilbert Andrey Rublev