WATCH: Venus Williams Refuses To Shake Umpire's Hand At Wimbledon After Match Point Call

WATCH: Venus Williams Refuses To Shake Umpire's Hand At Wimbledon After Match Point Call

by Zachary Wimer

Venus Williams wasn't really happy by the match point call in her first-round match at the 2023 Wimbledon.

At the All England Club, controversy swirled as the 43-year-old tennis legend chose to forego the customary handshake with umpire Marija Cicak at the conclusion of her first round match against Elena Svitolina at the 2023 Wimbledon.

The act came as a result of an unfavorable call that ended her run in what could be her last Wimbledon match. After a vintage fight, Svitolina defeated the five-time Wimbledon champion 6-4, 6-3, but the match was a difficult one for Williams.

Already in the first set, she fell to the ground and injured her knee during one of the rallies, but as always, she refused to give up and fought until the end. However, the end of the match wasn't probably as she expected.

The match reached its climax not with a victorious roar, but with an eruption of controversy that seemed to echo louder than the applause in the stands. With Svitolina leading 6-4, 5-3, 40-15, a contentious point unfolded that would go on to impact the conclusion of the match.

The point in question occurred when a ball hit by Svitolina was called out, and Williams failed to return it inside the court after the call was made. However, upon Svitolina's request for a challenge, the Hawk-Eye review indicated that the ball had indeed been in play.

After the late call and Williams not returning the ball, umpire Cicak determined that the late call had not influenced Williams’ play and thus awarded the point—and consequently, the game, set, and match—to Svitolina.

This contentious decision sparked immediate controversy. Venus Williams expressed her dismay through a shake of her head. The younger Svitolina was visibly caught off-guard by the abrupt end, uncertain of how to react to the situation.

Typically, after shaking hands with the opponent, it is customary for a player to shake hands with the umpire, acknowledging the role they played in maintaining fairness throughout the game. In this case, Williams—her disappointment palpable—chose to bypass this routine, a clear statement of her disagreement with Cicak's decisive call.

Although this departure from tradition stunned spectators on the Centre Court, they still applauded the American as she left the court after the match. Williams received a standing ovation and we'll see if she returns to the All England Club one last time.


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