Tennis

"This Is Really Weird" - Four Minutes Of Madness At Australian Open

"This Is Really Weird" - Four Minutes Of Madness At Australian Open

The first major of the tennis year is well underway. For those of us who love to wake up to the sight of live sport, the Australian Open always promises colourful fare.

Unlike the more austere events later in the calendar, the Melbourne setting seems to imbue players with greater freedom.

While World #3 Grigor Dimitrov and wild-card entrant Mackenzie McDonald played out the match of the tournament thus far this morning, a stranger sort of drama could be found in an alternate second-round tie between Matthew Ebden and Alexander Dolgopolov.

In the third game of the second set, the Australian Ebden was serving at Deuce. Having taken the first set 7-6, the Ukrainian Dolgopolov made a move toward an Ebden drop-shot when his shoe came off.

A sight that neither commentator on duty had ever seen before, the umpire, under the assumption that the shoe was an obstruction and thus a danger to Dolgopolov, called a let - halting the game mid-flow.

Seeing that Ebden had just hit a winning response to Dolgopolov's one-shoe response to that drop-shot, he wasn't happy.

Neither, apparently, was the umpire. Overruling her own judgement, she then informed Dolgopolov as he tried to put back on his shoe that the point would actually be awarded to the Australian Ebden, leaving him rather unhappy himself.

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While you can almost hear the commentators rummaging through a rule book to see what the protocol is in such instances, it was ultimately decided that the obstruction was caused by Dolgopolov himself, and thus was his problem.

An utterly bizarre run of events that ultimately resulted in the native player getting the point, the world #37 Dolgopolov eventually took the match in straight sets.

You can watch the event play out below.

Happy enough with his night's work, Dolgopolov set off something of a mild frenzy when he launched the infamous shoe into the crowd.

The Australian Open, you can't beat it.

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Arthur James O'Dea

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