Watch: Juan Martin del Potro meets and greets young fans after intense training session

Argentinian tennis player Juan Martin del Potro took time out of his busy schedule to meet and greet young fans after training in Auckland today.

In town for the ASB Classic, del Potro beckoned a group of young onlookers over after he'd finished practice.

Del Potro, who won the tournament in 2009, then signed autographs and posed for photos with the gathered crowd. 

The ASB Classic tournament second seed took time out to sign autographs and pose for photos. Source: 1 NEWS


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US Open umpire who gave Nick Kyrgios pep talk gets two tournament ban

The chair umpire who climbed out of his seat to talk with Nick Kyrgios during a US Open match was suspended for two tournaments by the ATP.

Mohamed Lahyani will not officiate at his next two scheduled events — the China Open in Beijing, which starts on October 1, and the Shanghai Masters the following week, the men's tour said in a statement today.

The ATP says Layhani's actions during Kyrgios' second-round victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Flushing Meadows on August 30 were "deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official."

According to the statement, he is one of seven full-time ATP chair umpires.

As a full-time employee, he is subject to tour discipline, even though what he did came at the US Open, which is under the jurisdiction of the US Tennis Association.

Kyrgios, a 23-year-old Australian, did not appear to be putting forth much effort while dropping the first set and falling behind 3-0 in the second against Herbert.

During a changeover, Lahyani left his chair — a rare sight in Grand Slam tennis — to speak to Kyrgios, leaning with hands on knees while saying, "I want to help you."

The 30th-seeded Kyrgios wound up beating Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0, then lost to Roger Federer in his next match.

Herbert said at the time he thought Lahyani should be sanctioned in some way.

"This was not his job," Herbert said. "I don't think he's a coach, he's an umpire, and he should stay on his chair for that."

Kyrgios, meanwhile, laughed at the idea that he had received coaching or a pep talk from Lahyani.

The next day, USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said Lahyani had gone "beyond our protocol," but would be allowed to continue to work matches during the US Open because of his "exemplary track record as an international tennis official."

Lahyani then was assigned to umpire doubles matches during that tournament.

"Mohamed is a world-class and highly respected official. However, his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire," Gayle Bradshaw, ATP executive vice president of rules and competition, said in today's statement.

"Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour. We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October."

Lahyani will be able to resume umpiring at the Stockholm Open on October 15.

His suspension was first reported by The New York Times.


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Serena was wrong: New report disproves Williams' 'sexism' claims made during - and after - US Open final meltdown

Serena Williams' claims of sexism from tennis officials have been debunked in spectacular fashion, with an investigation from the New York Times finding that men are hit with nearly three times the amount of conduct violations as their female counterparts.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in last week's US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

In a fiery on court scene, Williams protested that she was a victim of sexism, telling tournament referee Brian Earley, "there are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I'm a woman you are going to take this away from me?

"That is not right."

However, the New York Times report finds Williams' claims are well wide of the mark.

In the 20-year period between 1998 and 2018, men have accrued 1,517 separate code violations, while women feature incurred 535.

The only real exception comes in terms of players being cited for coaching, with women being given violations 152 times, compared to men's 87.

Williams' first code violation was for coaching, before also notching up citations for racket abuse, and verbal abuse, calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief".

As a result of her outburst, Williams was slapped with a fine of NZ $25,700. 

She claimed over $2m in prize money for being the runner-up.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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'I just don't understand' - Serena Williams doubles down on claims of sexism in US Open final

Serena Williams is holding her ground on claims of sexism against chair umpire Carlos Ramos, following her explosive outburst at last week's US Open final defeat.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in her loss in the US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

She would later add that the incident was sexist, and that male players are able to get away with worse on-court infringements.

Appearing on Australia's The Project, Williams spoke publicly for the first time about the ordeal.

"I just don't understand … if you're a female you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do," Williams said. 

Williams also hit back at Ramos' claims that she'd received coaching from trainer Patrick Mouratoglou - which he'd admitted to - denying her own involvement.

"He said he made a motion."

"I don't understand what he was talking about. We've never had signals."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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Umpire Carlos Ramos back to work after Serena Williams' US Open final outburst

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final is back at work.

Carlos Ramos is working the best-of-five Davis Cup semifinal series between Croatia and the United States.

"I'm just focusing on this tie and working again. That's all I can say," Ramos told The Associated Press.

Ramos officiated the second singles match between Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe, which was completed without incident.

Ramos calmed the raucous crowd on several occasions and came down from his chair to check a few ball marks in the clay but otherwise had no impact on the match, which Cilic won in straight sets to give Croatia a 2-0 lead.

"It was great. There were even a few calls where he came to check. Everything was really good," Cilic said. "The atmosphere was also great. I enjoyed every single second of the match."

Tiafoe, who was making his Davis Cup debut, also didn't have any complaints.

"I didn't know Ramos was sitting in the chair. I really wasn't paying attention," Tiafoe said. "I was more worried about the person across the net than the official."

US captain Jim Courier added: "We thought the officiating was excellent all day long."

Ramos gave Williams three code violations in her straight-set loss to Naomi Osaka last weekend, and the American great argued she wasn't being treated the same as some male players.

USTA president and CEO Katrina Adams, who defended Williams, was overheard apologising to Ramos on the sidelines of Thursday's draw ceremony.

Ramos wouldn't go into details over his discussion with Adams, who initiated the conversation.

"You know I cannot talk about that," Ramos said.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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