Confessions of a chair umpire (part two)

Published by Matt Trollope

Spain's David Ferrer (L) speaks with Eva Asderaki-Moore as the roof is closed due to an impending storm during his quarterfinal against Britain's Andy Murray at Australian Open 2016; Getty Images

We continue our chat with international gold badge umpire Eva-Asderaki Moore, who was in Melbourne recently to assist and educate Australian umpires in the process of officiating claycourt matches.

> Catch Part One here

On acting as a mentor for other umpires:

“Higher level umpires always assess lower level umpires … It’s part of what we do during a tournament as well. Normally we are given a umpire (to oversee) for the whole tournament, so we just try and watch as much as we can from that person. This way, it’s not just one match, because in one match, potentially, you don’t see much happening, so you’re not able to give a lot of feedback. But over a week, you see maybe a pattern, or you see things that they do or maybe what things they should correct. It’s more like a coaching process.”

On the difference between officiating men’s and women’s matches:

“There are some different rules, to start with. There are some clothing rules, like what sort of logos (can be displayed) and stuff like that. Or even the time between points – ATP they have 25 seconds, WTA have 20 seconds. Again, how the ATP applies the time violation rule is different to the WTA and it’s different to the ITF. So there are small differences in the rules and as a chair umpire you need to know everything because in a Grand Slam in one day you may do one men’s match and one women’s match, so you need to be able to quickly switch … It’s not so much a different game, but I think the difference is on how you deal with the players. How you deal with men compared to how you deal with women. I think with the men, you know what you get basically. It’s more black and white. Whereas the women they are a bit more emotional. (laughter). And obviously the speed as well, is different, the speed of the ball. Sometimes it’s easier to see the faster balls better. I don’t know why. It just is.”

Spain's David Ferrer (L) speaks with Eva-Asderaki-Moore as the roof is closed due to an impending storm during his quarterfinal against Britain's Andy Murray at Australian Open 2016; Getty Images

Spain’s David Ferrer (L) speaks with Eva-Asderaki-Moore as the roof is closed due to an impending storm during his quarterfinal against Britain’s Andy Murray at Australian Open 2016; Getty Images

On how male players accept, and respect, female chair umpires:

“I think they get more and more used to a female presence in the chair. So they see it as a normal thing now. At the top level they certainly don’t say anything (disrespectful) or show anything. At the lower level, yeah, years ago when I started there would be some comments. I believe that what a player wants is (simply) a good chair umpire. So if whoever is in the chair manages the match, controls the match, and there are no problems, then I think that’s all they care about. I think they just want to be able to play their match without any issues, be able to trust whoever sits in the chair, and that’s it. So you can do that as a woman as well, why not?”

On becoming the first woman to umpire a men’s US Open final, in 2015:

“Doing a men’s Grand Slam final has been one of my goals. So obviously to be able to achieve that was on it’s own amazing. And then to do it at the US Open, which is the biggest tennis stage, and to have the players that I happened to have (Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer) and for the match to go the way it went, it was amazing. During the match, as I said before, I was in the zone, I knew everything was going perfect [Hawkeye showed her to be a perfect eight-from-eight on overruled line calls during the match], everything was going really well. When I came off court and I saw so many people and everybody was telling me the things they were saying, that’s when I realised: ‘wow, that was amazing’. That was something incredible. I don’t know if anything will be higher than this now … but I’d obviously love to do more (men’s Grand Slam finals).

“If that will make things change and make the tours or the Grand Slams give more men’s matches to women, then it will be great. But I think compared to other sports, tennis is (already) quite far ahead. They do give men’s matches to women. Of course, not to everybody, but they do give them, and they do give quite high-profile matches to women. And yes, the last time a woman did a Grand Slam men’s final was I think seven years ago and hopefully it’s not going to be another seven years until somebody else – or me – does it again. It’s not gonna be me, I can tell you that for sure, in seven years time (laughter).”

Eva Asderaki-Moore during the US Open final. Photo: Getty Images

Eva Asderaki-Moore during the US Open final. Photo: Getty Images

On which rule she would like to see changed or removed, and what she would like to see introduced:

“It’s not so much of a rule, but I think I would like tennis to have a bit more entertainment for the crowd. To have more things happening for the crowd during the breaks. I would like to see that, so it’s a bit more fun … What you hear that everybody loves about the US Open for example is the buzz and the noise. So why do you go to other tournaments and you want them to be quiet?”

On what she makes of having a fan club – and a Twitter account dedicated to her ponytail:

“At the beginning it was a little bit strange. I was thinking: really? But it’s really nice, because these are people who don’t just pay attention to the players, they decided that they like me, or somebody else. It’s nice. You see them in tournaments and sometimes they come up to you and they want a photo or a chat … it happens more and more, but again, it’s nice.”

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