17 August 2011

30 Days of Tennis Challenge: Favourite umpire

Mohamed Lahyani
I won't be alone in this opinion. Mo is the man! He has always charmed tennis fans with his lovely, calm demeanour in the chair and the way he pronounces the score with such singsonginess and happiness. To me there is no better voice and face in the chair!

Even when your favourite is losing a match, when Mohamed is in the chair you feel like maybe life's not so bad.

Mo gained even more tennis fans during last year's epic Wimbledon battle between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut. Every time he announced the absurd scorelines he was just adorable!

When I was at Eastbourne this year, I knew I'd have a chance to meet Mo as the grounds were so open and everyone was accessible. So I waited for him when he finished chairing a doubles match. I was watching a ladies' dubs match in the adjacent court and grabbed my chance so went up to Mo and told him how much tennis fans around the world love him and he was just so lovely. He kept thanking me and smiling - seeming so humble.

Mo agreed to pose for a pic with me, so of course my eyes were closed in the pic. I had already walked away from him so had to go back and tell him my eyes were closed and would he please pose again? He asked me whose eyes were closed and I said mine. So, he posed again and even checked it with me on my camera afterward to make sure it was better. Well, I look dead tired but here we are.

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