Sparking a mini-ethics train wreck at the French Open, an overenthusiastic ballboy, thinking a point was over when it was not, ran onto the court in the middle of the tennis match between Andy Murray and Viktor Troicki, forcing a replay on a point that appeared to have been won by Troicki.
- Andy Murray happily accepted his good luck and won the replay. He was wrong. The tradition of tennis, unlike most other sports (but like golf), is for the competitors to be gracious in such situations, as when a player knows that an umpire mistakenly called a good point by his opponent out of bounds. True, these days that tradition is observed less and less frequently. It would still have been the right thing to do, the ethical response.
- Commenting on the match on The Tennis Channel, John McEnroe criticized Murray for not giving Troicki the point. This may win him the Gall of the Year Award, sports division. Yes, people can change, and it is not strictly hypocritical for one of the most unsportsmanlike players in tennis history to criticize a current player for not being an exemplary sportsman, now that the brat has mellowed and learned the error of his ways. At very least, however, if Mac was going to criticize another player for not doing something he would have never considered when he was competing himself, McEnroe was obligated to admit that he was advocating a standard he didn’t embrace when he had the chance.
- After Troicki lost the replayed point that he thought he had won, he sarcastically asked the 11-year-old ballboy, who felt bad enough already, why he didn’t run out on the court during that point, and then angrily kicked the ball away. Jerk.
- Meanwhile, the 11-year-old ballboy botched it. Those jobs are much sought, and it is not so hard to pay attention to the match sufficiently not to interfere with the play. He didn’t deserve to be abused by the player. He did fail his own duties of diligence and competence.
The point, as it turned out, didn’t matter. Troicki broke Murray’s serve in the messed-up game, and had 5-2 lead in final set. He was two points away from winning the match before choking and losing the next five games.
[Thanks to Lianne Best for the tip!]