It’s not often that a code violation can be described as impressive, but it could be argued that Aljaz Bedene earned that adjective for his errant tennis ball shot Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open.
After losing a point during the round of 16 match with Daniil Medvedev, the Slovenian stole a shot from a ball bouncing from behind the baseline. Likely destined to hit the scoreboard, he rose high enough to reach seats, which would normally not be a problem, as fans are not allowed into this tournament.
But like a golfer whose hack from the rough was unlikely to be found in the cup, Bedene somehow hit one of the few humans sitting inside the Tribune, a cameraman.
About a second after hitting the ball (at 00:15 in the video below), Bedene realizes what has happened and immediately apologizes.
Here’s another view:
Bedene remains alive only with a violation of the code. Correct call. Absolutely not, this is a default. pic.twitter.com/gpg95mAL2J
– Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) 25 August 2020
Now, to be clear, this wasn’t a missile, like Denis Shapovalov’s bullet in the Davis Cup years ago. But the rules of tennis aren’t the most flexible, and as Bedene hit someone in the stands with a ball, he faced the possibility of a default.
“It still hit him, I have yet to call the supervisor, see what they say,” the referee told Bedene, who at the time may have thought his day was over.
The cooler heads got the better of a muggy afternoon in Queens after an ATP supervisor was called and confirmed with the cameraman that he was fine. Bedene received a violation of the code for unsportsmanlike conduct alone, which was probably the happiest warning he ever received.
Medvedev, the defending champion, won 6-3, 6-3.