Huber and Vesnina in another dispute
Liezel Huber denies being hit by a ball early in the first set of her and Lisa Raymond's 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Vesnina, who was involved in a similar dispute with Huber at the 2012 Australian Open, complained to chair umpire Alison Lang that the ball struck Huber—which would have given the point to the Russians—but the umpire disagreed and awarded the point to the Americans. Huber said she was standing very close to the net when Vesnina blasted a groundstroke at her and she blocked it back with the throat of her racket, and ended up winning the point.
"The ball didn’t hit me, the ball was so hard," Huber told TENNIS.com and another reporter. "The girl thought it hit me in the stomach and I said, 'Do you want to see? That’s a great compliment and thanks a lot. But my stomach is not that hard and I would be down.' It was coming at my head and I still don’t how I put it in play, but I think I was thinking to get it out of my face. I think she wouldn’t have complained if she won the point. That girl hits the ball hard. I was so close to the net. It wasn't significant in the game."
Huber said she didn’t talk to Vesnina after the Russian approached the umpire.
"She’s clearly moody and was fighting with her dad on the court, and if you are not having a good day I would also try and find a way to win—we all want to win."
A videotape of the incident appears to back Huber's claim that the ball did indeed hit her racket.
At the 2012 Australian Open, Vesnina and Sania Mirza were leading 6-2 in the third-set tiebreak against Raymond and Huber and it appeared that a short shot by Mirza bounced twice before reaching Huber’s racquet. Huber did not call herself for the violation and the Indian-Russian pair was furious. Even though Vesnina and Mirza ended up winning the match, it left a sour taste in the mouth of Vesnina and brought Raymond to tears, who ended up apologizing to her foes. Raymond later tweeted congratulations to her opponents on Twitter, and Vesnina replied.
“Thank you Lisa. It was great match and u are better player and person on and off the court, then your partner!!!”
Huber said at Wimbledon that there could have been some spill over.
"Maybe some of that was Australia, but I’ve played doubles with her before and I didn't think there’s bad blood. She seems like a nice person. There wasn't anything [cold] at the handshake."
Vesnina told USA Today on Thursday that she was angry at Huber about the Wimbledon incident.
Raymond told TENNIS.com that she talked to Huber immediately after the point at Wimbledon and Huber assured her that the ball hit her racket. Raymond added that when she got into the locker room after the match that she was swarmed by fellow players who wanted to know what happened.
"Unfortunately Liezel never gets the benefit of the doubt and her reputation precedes her, because she doesn’t ever get a fair trial from her peers," Raymond said.—Matt Cronin