Andy Murray: ‘I’m trying to cheat Fabio because Mo couldn’t read a mark properly’

Shahida Jacobs
Andy Murray in action
Andy Murray during a match

“Hot heads” Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini produced yet another dramatic match as things got heated during their first-round encounter at the 2023 Italian Open.

Facing each other on the ATP Tour for the first time their controversial 2019 Shanghai Masters clash when Murray told Fognini to “shut up” during an on-court argument, there were once again fiery moments at Foro Italico on Wednesday.

Chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani was at the centre of the drama in the first set as a lob from Fognini was called in by a line judge, much to Murray’s dismay. Lahyani came to check the point, but he agreed with the line judge.

“It’s a little bit on the line here. The linesman called it good, there’s a little bit there, there’s a little bit white here, it’s just touching it,” the chair official said.

Murray was having none of it as he shouted: “Mate, you can see the ball mark there. Mohamed, look. How can you see that ball from there being in? How is it possible? You’re trying to make a mark now.”

The argument continued while those in the stands booed loudly.

The point went to Fognini – who described himself and Murray as “hotheads” who “lose their cool pretty quickly” in his 2020 autobiography – and the Italian ended up winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in just under three hours, but Murray didn’t let the incident go after the match

The three-time Grand Slam winner hit out at the crowd and Lahyani, replying to an Instagram post: “Stadium full of Italians booing and whistling, thinking I’m trying to cheat Fabio out of point all because Mo [Mohamed Lahyani] couldn’t read a mark properly. Cheers mate.”

His brother Jamie was also unimpressed by the chair umpire’s decision while he also called for Electronic Line Calling Live (ELC) to be introduced sooner. The ATP announced earlier in May that ELC will become compulsory at all tournaments from 2025.

“🤡 how do you get this so wrong when you can get off your chair and look at the mark?! Where’s #ELC,” the doubles great wrote on Twitter.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi believed it was time to “embrace innovation and new technologies” by adopting ELC, saying: “Our sport deserves the most accurate form of officiating and we’re delighted to be able to deliver this across our whole Tour from 2025.”