Mohamed Lahyani – a Star in The Chair

Mohamed Lahyani has achieved something of a star status as one of the full time chair umpires on the ATP World Tour. With his charismatic personality, Lahyani has become a crowd favorite around the world as he has taken chair umpiring to a new level. I have seen him countless times throughout the years on many different levels. The first few times were at the Swedish event Kungens Kanna, a traditional tournament played at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm. The winner of the event used to get a Wild Card to the qualifying of Stockholm ATP and lots of very good Swedish players entered in the late 1980’s and 90’s when I followed the tournament closely.

I particularly remember when Lahyani was chair umpiring a match involving Jonathan Labella, some time in the mid 1990’s. Labella was not happy about the way he was playing and threw his racket countless times. Mohamed smiled through the whole thing. As he left the court, he walked up the stairs from the Center Court and saw Jonathan Labella’s father sitting there on one of the red comfortable chairs. Labella’s father had been swearing throughout the match and was very angry with the loss and said something about a few bad calls. With his unique voice, Mohamed responded: “Your kid could become a really good player, as long as he learns to control his emotions.”

During last week’s ATP event in Zagreb, Mohamed was doing all the on-court talking in Croatian, something which thrilled the audience in the Dom Sportova Arena. When the camera zoomed in on Lahyani during the change-overs, the crowd was cheering as if he was one of their own players. Mohamed responded by wawing his arm and smiling even more than before.  

A tough day in the career of Lahyani came at last year’s Paris Masters, when there was a long controversy about the number of challenges Andy Roddick had left in the final set against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Mohamed said that he was 100 percent sure that Roddick had another challenge, but the person in charge of the Challenge system argued for the contrary and didn’t want to award Roddick another chance. In the end, Roddick got the challenge. However, a look at the tape proved that it was in fact Mohamed who was wrong. Roddick had used all his challenges earlier during the set. Take a look below.


1 Comment

Filed under International Tennis, Swedish Tennis

One response to “Mohamed Lahyani – a Star in The Chair

  1. Calle

    lahyani sure is a character.

    can we get a blogg on ryderstedt? he qualified for the main draw in san jose where he took roddick to a breaker in the second set, and also only lost 5 games to the tool donald young in the qualies.

    what are your thoughts on him? future davis cup player? top 50?

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