Controversial scenes at Canadian Open as Milos Raonic fumes after rule allows Frances Tiafoe to get away with touching net on set point in 1R match

Milos Raonic defeats Frances Tiafoe.
Milos Raonic defeats Frances Tiafoe.

Controversy erupted on Monday, August 7, as Frances Tiafoe was awarded the set point despite touching the net against Milos Raonic. The incident took place in the first round of the 2023 Canadian Open in Toronto.

The encounter between Raonic and Tiafoe was extremely close to begin with, as the opening set went into a tiebreak. The two players were inseparable until the scoreline read 13-12 in favor of Tiafoe.

Serving for the set, Tiafoe raced toward the net to return a Raonic let-chord that fell on the American's side of the court. Tiafoe managed to reach the ball but touched the net due to his forward momentum, before the ball could bounce twice.

The chair umpire initially called the foul and awarded the point to the Canadian. However, he eventually reversed his decision in Tiafoe's favor.

Raonic quickly approached the umpire to have a chat over the call, arguing that the ball didn't bounce twice before Tiafoe committed the error. The umpire replied:

"This is complicated. I called the touch because the ball bounced once. But he hit this section of the net (outside the singles sticks). This section of the net doesn’t count as a touch, so he wins the point."

Dissatisfied with the explanation, Raonic demanded the supervisor's take on the matter.

"So if I miss a forehand next time here and it technically goes in right by the angle… this net does not exist," Raonic asked the supervisor.

The umpire then cited the rulebook and stuck with his decision, so the first set went to Tiafoe.

"Frances hit a winner, it bounced and he ran into the net so I called Foul Shot. Then I realized he ran into this side of the single sticks, so I changed my mind because that's a rule question… that’s not a judgment Milos," the chair umpire said.

The video was shared on Twitter by Tennis TV.

Milos Raonic, however, went on to win the intense battle 6-7(12), 7-6(4), 6-3.

As per the rulebook, the section outside the singles sticks is considered a permanent fixture and not part of the net in a singles match played with a doubles net.

"Didn't pick up a racket for 14-15 months" - Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic in action: National Bank Open Toronto.
Milos Raonic in action: National Bank Open Toronto.

Milos Raonic returned to the court during the grass season after being sidelined for nearly two years due to an injury. The Canadian is now back in action on his home soil, competing in Toronto.

Ahead of the tournament, Raonic interacted with the media and answered a few questions about his time away from tennis.

“I think the biggest thing was will I end up finding something I enjoy as much and have the same kind of passion and obsession with as I do with tennis," he said. "Having a good year plus of no tennis whatsoever, because I didn't pick up a racquet for about 14, 15 months, I was able to calm those fears."
“And then I was able to kind of look at it and try to point out by when I could get ready to try to give it a bit more time and get ready to play at a higher level. And that's kind of a process and then came back and been enjoying it,” Milos Raonic added.

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Edited by Parag Jain
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