Umpire Fergus Murphy explains why officials avoid getting ‘pally’ with players
In part two of our exclusive interview with umpire Fergus Murphy, he explains why it is important not to “get very pally” with players and the “rush of excitement” he gets every time he packs his bags.
Like all chair umpires, Murphy has been embroiled in spats with many of the game’s top stars, but he insists those incidents should be avoided at all costs as he admits he has always been keen to avoid getting close to players on the tour.
“You see in other sports that the players and the officials get very pally, but we tend to stay away from that,” he stressed. “Rugby referees seem to get close to the players and the Premier League footballers are all on first name terms with the referees these days.
“I feel you need to make sure there is that bit of space between the officials and the players, so I would generally have dinner with other umpires rather than the players, even if we are all staying in the same hotel.
“The secret for all sports officials is to be invisible. If I get to the end of a big match and no one has noticed I have been on the court, that’s as good day for me.
“You are always going to get incidents where one or both of the players are upset about a close call, but the use of modern technology to clear up contentious calls has been great for defusing explosive situations. We can now go to a TV replay to check whether the ball was in or out and players can’t really argue with a computer that seems to be pretty accurate.
“In general, tennis players don’t lose their temper quite as often as footballers or some other sportsmen, so we are lucky in that respect.”
While he may not have been good enough to play the game at the highest level, the affable Irishman has reached the pinnacle in an alternative tennis career by making it onto the elite panel of officials employed on a full-time basis by the ATP Tour.
“There are times when jumping on planes every few days can become a bit of a drag, but there is a little rush of excitement every time I pack my bag and prepare for the next trip,” he adds.
“It’s a little adventure every time I travel as you never know what will happen when you get to your destination.”
By Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon dream dies – but what comes next matters more
Raducanu may have failed to live up to ridiculous expectations at Wimbledon, but it is far too early to write her off.
Novak Djokovic blows past Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets
The reigning champion dropped just seven games on Centre Court.
Alexander Zverev ‘in a positive mood’ as rehab begins
Alexander Zverev in a good mood as rehab journey begins.
Novak Djokovic says there is no ‘medical logic’ behind banning unvaccinated players from US Open
Novak Djokovic perplexed by decision not to allow unvaccinated players to compete at US Open.
WATCH: Novak Djokovic becomes autograph hunter on behalf of his kids, gets Venus Williams’ signature
Novak Djokovic the autograph hunter.
Rafael Nadal allays Covid-19 close contact fears after Matteo Berrettini’s Wimbledon withdrawal
“I feel very sorry for him because he was playing fantastic.”
Wimbledon day three: Follow the action from SW19 with Tennis365’s live scores and results centre here…
Catch the action from Wimbledon with our live scores and results centre…
Dan Evans to move on ‘pretty swiftly’ after Wimbledon exit: ‘It hurts. But I can have a party on my own’
Dan Evans suffered a straight-sets defeat.
Andy Murray signs up for Laver Cup as he joins ‘Europe’s Avengers’ alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
“Europe’s Avengers” squad features Andy Murray.
Wimbledon day two: Brits march on, ‘it’s just wow’ for Harmony Tan after Serena Williams win, Covid-19 fears
A look back at day two at Wimbledon.