Last week, during the Wimbledon games, Gilles Simon threatened to sue the umpire during his match with Grigor Dimitrov, which ultimately led to Simon’s defeat. And I can’t help but comment on this “threat” because it surely seems a little absurd to most.
It’s summertime in London, so of course there is rain, and the match was unfortunately held in such weather. During the second game of the second set, Simon stated to the umpire, “I don’t want to play, when it’s raining, on grass. That’s it.” He then added, “If I play and get injured, I will sue you and you will pay.”
I can understand his concern with getting injured. I’m sure the grass is slippery in the rain. However, the role of the umpire during the match is to ensure that the match or tournament is conducted according to the rules of tennis. There are different types of umpires including a chair umpire, who is the final authority on all questions of fact during the match, and the line umpire, who makes the calls regarding shots relating to the lines on the court. In this case, the umpire Simon threatened to sue was the chair umpire.
Then, later in a press conference, Simon then complained about the rain again, concerned about injury, and stated, “I feel the day I’m going to get injured on slippery grass, I’m going to sue everyone in the stadium.” Well, I can certainly say that I don’t think that is going to stand up in court. Obviously, a spectator has no duty of care to a tennis player, so Simon doesn’t have a case there.
Simon did state that he would discuss his concern about playing on slippery grass with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Player Council. The ATP is a formal group that protects the interests of male professional tennis players. I think Simon taking his concerns to the ATP should have been his first goal rather than threaten to sue the umpire. However, I guess the question begs, what do you think? Does Simon have a case against the umpire? Was requiring the match to continue on slippery grass a good or necessary call?
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