Albot Climbs Umpire's Chair For Video Review: 'It's Really Cool'
You don’t see a player climb the umpire’s chair every day. In fact, you never see that.
But Moldovan No. 1 Radu Albot had something to investigate on Tuesday at the ATP Cup. During his doubles match alongside Alexander Cozbinov against Great Britain, Cozbinov was called for a foot fault in the ad court, with a linesman seeing his left foot touch the baseline.
Team Moldova challenged that call, utilising the video review technology innovation being used at this inaugural 24-team event. Chair umpire Aurelie Tourte watched the replay on a tablet, confirming the call due to a lack of conclusive evidence showing that Cozbinov’s foot did not touch the line.
Albot did not see a foot fault, so he climbed Tourte’s chair to take a look at the tablet, drawing laughs from the crowd.
“I think it’s really cool,” Albot said of video review. “I also saw yesterday with Novak when he put the racquet over the net. That was interesting because if there is no VR [Video Review], you cannot see, it is so quick.
“I went up to check, but still I didn’t see a foot fault!”
Late Monday evening, Novak Djokovic was playing doubles in Brisbane when Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin challenged whether the Serbian reached over the net to put away a volley. Upon review, it was ruled that Djokovic hit a “foul shot”, thus losing the point.
“It’s something cool that you could look,” Albot said. “I’m sure nobody will go there every time to check. Maybe not."
Moldova will not be moving forward to the Final Eight in Sydney, but the country had an opportunity to compete among the best tennis countries in the world.
“I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a great tournament. It’s a shame I couldn’t make any damage here. But I think the tournament itself is different. There are not so many players around you. You have your own locker room. You have your own table with the breakfast in the hotel,” Albot said. “You never have this experience. There are people at the courts who are helping you with towels and everything you need. It’s a more private tournament... Everything is for you, whatever you need.
“I really liked it. Especially for the first edition.”
Albot spends plenty of time on big stages, having cracked the Top 50 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Last year in Miami, he even took a set off Roger Federer. But by qualifying Moldova for the ATP Cup, Albot gave lesser-profile players from his country a platform to show the world their skills. World No. 816 Alexander Cozbinov had never played a tour-level match, but in his country’s first tie of the event he pushed former World No. 38 Steve Darcis for more than three hours.
“It was probably the best experience of my life,” Cozbinov said. “I’m really thankful for Radu that he made it and he provided such an opportunity for me to play and compete against such good players.”
The motto of the ATP Cup is “for the love of country”. And what Moldova’s participation in this event means back home transcends just tennis.
“I’m really happy that the first edition of this tournament we made it for a small country. Even bigger countries like our neighbours, Romania, Ukraine, they didn’t make it. Portugal didn’t make it,” Albot said. “So I’m really happy that a small country like Moldova was here and I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know where Moldova is. So at least some people found out about a small country now.”