Victoria Azarenka lays into chair umpire Mariana Alves in the seventh game of the third set of her 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss to Ekaterina Makarova in Madrid. After Azarenka missed a return on the opening point, she smashed her racket to the ground and broke it. Alves then gave her point penalty, as she had already issued Azarenka a code violation in the first set for allegedly sweating at the crowd. Azarenka claimed she hadn’t heard the first code violation and said to Alves on court: “How are you still on the bench after all you have done? How are you still on the bench?”
Longtime umpire Alves consistently officiates high-level matches (she holds a coveted gold badge) and is well respected on tour, but she has been involved in disputes before, such as in 2004 when she made some poor calls during Jennifer Capriati’s win over Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. That match is considered to be the impetus for the use of the Hawk-Eye line-calling system the following year.
Later, in her press conference, Azarenka said she would not state whether she feels that Alves should be umpiring.
“Oh, no, I will never make that judgment,” she told reporters. “It’s emotions when you say some things. No, I just felt it was a weird call for me because I had no idea I had a code violation. So definitely took me by surprise. But it’s emotions. I can never judge what a person should or should not do…It didn’t help, for sure, but it’s okay. It’s my own fault.”