During a second-round U.S. Open match on Aug. 30, umpire Mohamed Lahyani descended from his chair to give a mopey Nick Kyrgios a pep talk that included the words “I want to help you,” raising questions as to whether he overstepped boundaries as a neutral party. Lahyani has now been punished for his unusual foray into motivational speech.
Shortly after the incident, the USTA ruled that Lahyani went “beyond protocol” yet allowed him to continue working through the tournament. But today, the New York Times reported that the ATP—the men’s tour, Lahyani’s primary employer—has suspended its full-time umpire for two tournaments without pay. Lahyani will miss the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters.
Here’s video of their chat:
Here’s part of a statement from the ATP, via the Times:
“Mohamed is a world-class and highly respected official, however his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire,” Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP’s executive vice president for rules and competition, said in the statement. “Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour. We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”