Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Roger Federer criticise umpire Mohamed Lahyani over Nick Kyrgios pep talk


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Pierre-Hugues Herbert, of France, returns a shot to Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Herbert was not impressed with the situation (Picture: AP)

Pierre-Hugues Herbert called for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to take action against umpire Mohamed Lahyani after giving his opponent Nick Kyrgios a pep talk during their US Open second-round match.

The Frenchman was up by a set and a break against the Australian, who was putting in minimal effort on court.

At the change of ends at 3-0 in the second, Lahyani decided to hop off his chair and issue some words of encouragement to the 30th seed.

While Kyrgios defended the umpires actions and denied he received any on-court coaching from him, Herbert believes that he made a mistake and should face the consequences.

After this, for sure, when I saw how it went, you never know what would have happened if Mohamed didnt go down of the chair and started talking to him, he said in his post-match press conference.

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I dont know what to think. I dont know if something happened, if Mohamed would have said something or not, it wouldnt have changed anything. I cannot tell you. I just can tell you from that point Nick was playing much better.

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Actually, the umpire doesnt have to talk to him at all. The only thing he can tell him is, yeah, pay attention, because if you continue like this, Im going to give you a warning, something like this. They can tell him from the chair. He doesnt need to go down. He doesnt need to say the words he said on the video. I think this was not his job. I dont think hes a coach, hes an umpire, and he should stay on his chair for that.

I dont think he has to go down and take the position of a coach, like you see on the WTA Tour. I dont know yet if it would have changed something. I just know he doesnt have to do that.

The umpire gave Kyrgios a pep talk (Picture: Amazon)

I know theres something that should be done, I think. Like when I get a warning or when I get a point penalty, I get a fine. I think its both ways. Its not like the umpires can give warnings and point penalty, then we have fines to pay.

If he makes a mistake, I think he should be also punished. But I think he doesnt make that many mistakes, Mohamed. I think hes a really good umpire. But just today I think he went over what he should have done.

When asked why he thought Lahyani intervened, he added: Because I think Mohamed, hes actually a really good umpire. I think he knows everybody.

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I think he cares for Nick. He cares for the show also because people were going after the first set. Everybody was there for the start. When they saw Nick in a bad mood, I would say, for the first two sets, they started going away.

Kyrgios went on to win the match (Picture: Getty)

I think like everybody, I think Nick today could be an amazing player. Just sometimes hes mentally, yeah, not here. I dont know where he was for the first two sets. I know he was on court after when he started playing, when he kicked my ass and was much better than me.

Roger Federer, Kyrgios next opponent, also criticised Lahyani for his behaviour.

Its not the umpires role to go down from the chair, The Swiss said. But I get what he was trying to do.

He behaves the way he behaves. You as an umpire take a decision on the chair, do you like it or dont you like it. But you dont go and speak like that, in my opinion.

I dont know what he said. I dont care what he said. It was not just about How are you feeling? Oh, Im not feeling so well. Go back up to the chair.

Federer criticised Lahyani (Picture: Anadolu Agency/Getty)

He was there for too long. Its a conversation. Conversations can change your mindset. It can be a physio, a doctor, an umpire for that matter.


Thats why it wont happen again. I think everybody knows that.

The USTA has since released a statement on the incident from the referees office.

It read: The umpire came out of the chair because of the noise level in the Stadium during the changeover to make sure he could communicate effectively with Kyrgios.

Lahyani was concerned that Kyrgios might need medical attention. Lahyani told Kyrgios that if he was feeling ill, that the tournament could provide medical help. He also informed Kyrgios that if his seeming lack of interest in the match continued, that as the chair umpire, he would need to take action. He again suggested to Kyrgios that he could receive medical attention.

At the next changeover, Kyrgios down 1-4, received treatment from the physio.

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