“Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before even going on the court,” this quote right here is by none other than the great Venus Williams.
But now, just imagine, you're in the fifth set, sweating it out in the super tie break. You're leading by a good margin, and suddenly your right (in) ball is called out. You challenge it, it shows it's in, but instead of giving you the point or calling for a re-point, chair umpire hands over the point to your opponent. Which means you not only lose the point but the challenge also. How would you feel at that point? Devastated, right?
Something similar happened in the 4th round tie of the Australian Open. The match was played between 8th seed Kei Nishikori and 24th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
Despite losing two sets in the match, Nishikori managed to pull off the next two and take the game to the fifth set. Nishikori, who eventually won 6-7 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8), was trailing 8-5 in the super tiebreaker when a moot call changed the momentum and awaken the outrageous Carreno Busta.
The shot of the Spaniard clipped the net, and Nishikori reset to hit a backhand down the line after the ball landed near the doubles alley. A line judge called it out as Nishikori hit the ball down the line. The moment the ball was called out, Busta went for the challenge and was nowhere close to playing the ball. He challenged the decision, and the Hawk-Eye showed the ball hitting the line. Despite all the odds being on Busta's side, the point remained with Nishikori.
It might be easy to play tennis but the fifth set is not just about tennis, it's also about the sheer nerves. More often than not, the player who's able to remain calm and composed, ends up coming out on top. And that's exactly what happened here. After that point, Carreno lost the next three points and Nishikori sealed the match with an ace.
After shaking hands with Nishikori, Carreno threw his bag into the court before collecting it and yelling at the chair umpire as he left the arena. We haven't seen the Spaniard losing his grip earlier, but here his emotions got better of him. Later in the post-match press conference, Carreno Busta apologised for his behaviour with tears in his eyes.