While most of the noise around the Australian Open qualifying tournament has been about the smoke in the first couple of days, there was another incident in which one player was furious that his opponent took an untimely medical timeout in the middle of the third set tie-breaker on Wednesday.
Italy's Alessandro Gianessi was playing South Korea's Duck Hee Lee and the match went to a deciding set tie-breaker. The South Korean called for a medical time-out due to cramps while he was down 4-0. Gianessi was clearly unhappy that Lee was permitted the timeout, with cramping not usually enough to warrant a stop in play.
The Italian reportedly told the umpire ‘this is not admissible’ at least 10 times before play got back underway. After the break, Lee came back from 0-4 down to win the match and the tiebreaker - much to the anger of Gianessi.
The Italian did not shake hands with the umpire or his opponent after the match, and walked off the court in a huff. Lee won the match with the final score 2-6, 7-5, 7-6, but several tennis fans and reporters were of the view that he should not have been awarded the medical time out as cramping does not qualify for the same.
Lee, who is deaf from birth, will now go on to meet Frenchman Quentin Halys in the second round of the Australian Open qualifiers on Thursday. In several other matches, players had complained about the breathing conditions in Melbourne and many players were unhappy that they were being forced to play in such conditions. One WTA player had even retired after during her first round match.