There is a general perception that tennis is a sport where the role of the chair umpire is much more central and essential than it has been figured out to be. We often hear the phrase “different umpire, different result” and this is meant to pinpoint exactly the fact that the calls and decisions made by the officials in tennis are conducive to a match outcome.
Chair umpires have the final say in everything that happens on the tennis court. Their calls are meant not only to have an impact on the very moment of the decision, but on the entire match and consequently on the final result of the match.
This is the reason why there is much emphasis being put on who gets to officiate a very critical match between two top seeds in the tennis world ranking or a final in a Grand Slam let’s say. And this is the reason why many sports bettors take into account, in their choices, the person who will officiate the match, before they decide to place a wager in one of the Spanish betting sites that offer attractive tennis betting markets.
If the role of the chair umpire is so crucial, how can the governing bodies of the various tournaments ensure that officiating is impartial and unbiased? Or even more important, how can they ensure that umpiring remains totally neutral?
In every tennis match, you expect that the players are treated equally and fairly and that there is no inclination towards one or another. Just like rolling the dice in a casino, available at https://online-casino-pt.com/, where there are equal chances and there is no bias or hidden opportunity, you want the chair umpires to be blank papers.
You don’t want to see, for example, Nick Kyrgios, who is regarded as the “bad boy” of tennis, being treated differently just because he is being himself. You don’t want the chair umpire to make bad calls only because Kyrgios has a bad temper.
And in a similar way, you don’t want to see an umpire favoring, with his decisions and calls, a player who is coming from the same country as he is. Everybody who loves tennis wants to see a fair and just game between opponents who are equally treated.
Three ways to ensure impartiality and neutrality
Well, the governing bodies of tennis have three ways to ensure that the umpires are impartial and neutral against both players
- Umpires and players should not have the same nationality
In big tournaments and high-profile competitions (but most likely in the vast majority of competitions), umpires are set the night before the match and the number one criterion is that they don’t have the same nationality as any of the two players. So, you can’t have a Spanish chair umpire officiating a match where Rafael Nadal or Carlos Alcaraz are in.
Too often people get to develop favorable feelings or preferences over others who are of the same nationality, especially when they are on foreign grounds. So, avoiding having umpires and players with the same nationality at least eliminates the possibility of biased calls due to feelings of national pride, let’s say.
- No-list umpires
Sometimes it’s what the players themselves or even the umpires themselves want. If a tennis player asks the governing body to remove from his own matches a certain umpire -due to solid reasons of course – then this is something that is taken under serious consideration and the umpire is effectively ruled out. The same holds true for the umpire as well. If the official asks to be left out of the matches of a certain player, then this will probably lead to his removal from the list.
Nadal back in 2015 had requested a specific umpire to be out of the list of officials for any match that he was to be on. Carlos Bernardes was effectively removed but after a while, Rafael withdrew his request and the Brazilian umpire was back on the list. Can you imagine how that would have affected the progress of the match? Or even further, how that would have changed the odds of Spanish bookmakers and betting sites for that match?
- Governing bodies’ decisions
There are some cases where the committees or the governing bodies themselves make decisions on removing certain umpires from certain players’ matches. This can happen without the player or the umpire asking for such a thing, but the decision seems the only way out.
If there has been a lot of history between a player and the official in conflicts and confrontations or if there has been any incident – just like the one between Serena Williams and Carlos Ramos back in 2018 – then there can be a formal and official removal of the umpire on all the games of the player.