US Open men's final sees quiet day from chair umpire

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NEW YORK -- The chair umpire for Sunday's men's US Open final between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro had to repeatedly warn the rowdy, mostly pro-Del Potro crowd to quiet down between points, often delaying both players before their respective serves.

Djokovic, who won the match 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 for his 14th career Grand Slam victory, pushed the envelope with the US Open-mandated serve shot clock, which gives players 25 seconds between points. Chair umpire Alison Hughes gave both players leeway with the shot clock, as she accounted for the fan/noise delay that was out of the players' control. But once Djokovic exceeded the time limit for a third time, without much delay from fans, Hughes handed down a code violation. Djokovic smashed his racquet in frustration on a subsequent point but did not receive a code violation for it.

"I think it was a very excited crowd at times," Chris Widmaier, managing director of the USTA's corporate communications, told ESPN regarding Sunday's final. "It was very loud and somewhat disruptive of the rhythm for both players at times, and I think the chair ump took that into consideration, and we are very comfortable with how she handled that match.

"A lot of discretion is provided to the chair ump to make their decision throughout the match. I thought Alison did a fine job officiating the men's final. It's a heightened environment: men's final, two very popular players, Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro. Ultimately, we are comfortable with how the match was handled."

The non-calls raised questions the day after Serena Williams was charged with three infractions by chair umpire Carlos Ramos, the last resulting in a game penalty, in her straight-sets loss to Naomi Osaka in the women's final. Williams was fined $17,000 by tournament officials on Sunday.

Djokovic said in his postmatch news conference that he thinks the chair umpire interfered too much in Williams' match, but he stopped short of saying men and women are treated differently. Djokovic said Ramos "just maybe changed -- not maybe, but he did change the course of the match" in Williams' 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka.

Djokovic said he thought Ramos' involvement was "unnecessary."

"We all go through our emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy," he said.

Djokovic disagreed with WTA CEO Steve Simon, who said men and women should be treated equally but that wasn't the case Saturday. "I don't see things as Mr. Simon does," Djokovic says, adding that "it's hard to generalize things, really."

"I really felt for [Serena] yesterday," Djokovic continued. "[It's] a tough thing for a chair umpire to deal with, as well. We have to empathize with him. Everyone was in a very awkward situation [Saturday]. A lot of emotions. Serena was crying. Naomi was crying. It was really, really tough."

Del Potro also weighed in on the debate about a double standard in officiating.

"I was sad for Serena because she's a great champion," Del Potro told reporters. "She gives to this sport a lot. But Naomi deserved to win. She's a great champion.

"Of course, the final was not the final that everybody expected. But I'm agree that the girls [have] to be treated [like] the men, win the same money. They make a big effort to play in these kind of tournaments, and they deserve to have the same treatment as we have."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.