Ivo Karlovic, beaten in the second round by Andy Murray yesterday, left the All England Club in a state of fury after claiming he had been cheated out of possible victory by line judges who foot-faulted him regularly. Karlovic, who calculated that he had been foot-faulted 11 times, called his treatment "outrageous", said the officials were biased and claimed that the credibility of the tournament had been damaged.
The 33-year-old, who was beaten 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, has a reputation as one of the game's biggest servers, but his rhythm was interrupted by the foot faults. "I feel cheated," he said. "It was outrageous, outrageous. It's Wimbledon, Centre Court, and they do this. In my whole life, ever since I was eight years old, I didn't do this many foot faults. They were never called when it was like 30-0 or 40-0. It was always when it was 30-30 or in a tie-break. I mean, what is this?
"After this match, the whole credibility of this tournament went down for me."
A fault is called if a player's foot touches the baseline – or the court inside the baseline – before he strikes the ball. Karlovic, who said he had never been foot-faulted more than once or twice in all his previous matches, said he had tried moving further behind the baseline when he served, but to no avail.
When questioned on the subject, Murray said that he had no idea whether the calls had been correct.
"If it turns out that he wasn't footfaulting, if I was him I'd be very, very disappointed," he said.
The Scot now meets Marcos Baghdatis, who works with Murray's former coach, Miles Maclagan. Murray was pleased with his performance. He returned serve well, served consistently and hit the ball with assurance. However, his greatest asset was his mental strength.
"I've had success against guys of that height and game style," Murray said. "I think I played him three times before and won each one. It's just important to be patient. The more times you play against them you know more or less what to expect so you can be a little bit better prepared each time, mentally."
Murray won the first set but lost the second after a poor tie-break.The Scot's response was superb. On break point in the first game of the third, he hit a damaging return to feet and followed up with a beautiful winning lob into the corner – no mean feat against a man of Karlovic's size. Six games later, he broke again, forcing Karlovic into a volley error with a cracking forehand.
The Croatian hung on in the fourth set, which went to a tie-break. At 4-4, Karlovic was foot-faulted on his first serve and went on to serve a double fault, upon which Murray served out for the match. The Scot pointed his fingers to the sky, while Karlovic left the court angry and frustrated.