PARIS (AP)—With the ball dropping from the sky in the middle of a point, a ball boy at the French Open suddenly appeared out of nowhere and ran onto the court.
He didn’t interfere with Viktor Troicki, the Serbian tennis player who was going for a smash during the fifth set, but his disruption still caused the point to be replayed—much to the dismay of Troicki.
“I never saw (this before),” said Troicki, who ended up losing to Andy Murray 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday in the fourth round. “I haven’t seen it on TV, or ever. I mean, since I watched tennis and I played tennis, I have never seen such a situation. Kid just jumped in and messed up my point.”
The young man, waiting next to the chair umpire during the rally, thought the point was over after Murray struggled to retrieve the ball and was only able to send back a defensive lob. He ran onto the court to catch the ball and almost bumped into Troicki.
“He came into the court right in the middle of the point, and he didn’t see that the ball was coming back in the court,” Troicki said. “The rule is if he’s like in the middle of the court, we should replay the point. But still, I mean, Andy had no chance to be back in the point, so …”
The intrusion happened at the start of the sixth game of the final set. And although Troicki won the point with his smash, it had to be replayed.
Murray then won the replayed point, but Troicki still managed to break for a 4-2 lead.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Troicki said of Murray. “He just continued playing the point. He was lucky that the kid came in, but I would have done the same. It was just bad luck for me.”
Troicki, however, showed his displeasure. After learning the point would be replayed, he crouched incredulously and stared at the offending ball boy. The crowd then started to cheer Troicki while whistling the chair umpire, Pascal Maria.
“I cannot blame him, but still, I was a little bit disappointed,” Troicki said.
But later in the same game, after losing a point to trail 40-30, Troicki waved his arm to gesture to the ball boy that he should have run onto the court during that point. In disgust, and with the ball rolling toward him, Troicki then kicked the ball away from the ball boy as he moved to retrieve it.
Murray said the situation didn’t bother him.
“I don’t think it affected me,” the fourth-seeded Briton said. “It’s happened before. It doesn’t happen particularly often. I obviously got broken in that game. But it wasn’t something that worried me or bothered me at all.”
Troicki eventually held a 5-2 lead and served for the match at 5-3, but he didn’t blame the ball boy for his collapse.
“I was 5-3 up and 30-love on my serve,” Troicki said. “This had nothing to do (with my loss).”