Marijana Veljovic doesn’t blink.
Whether it’s overruling an out call against Roger Federer or remaining composed in the face of a Nick Kyrgios tirade, the Serbian tennis chair umpire has shown a willingness to stand her ground and do her job — and Aussie fans are loving it.
For the second year in a row the popular official featured in a headline-grabbing match at Melbourne Park and emerged with her reputation enhanced.
After “calling a hecking good match” when Federer survived seven match points to beat Tennys Sandgren in last year’s quarterfinals, Veljovic was in charge as Nick Kyrgios staved off two match points himself in a five-set win against Ugo Humbert on Wednesday night.
She was absolutely tested by the firebrand Australian, who launched a verbal barrage in her direction when a malfunctioning net-cord vibration-detecting device appeared to consistently play up.
“It’s bulls***, look at the score,” Kyrgios complained to the umpire.
“It’s ruining the game. It’s ruining the game. You don’t understand it’s f***ing one-all in the fifth set.”
Nick Kyrgios pleads his case to Marijana Veljovic. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
His audible obscenity could so easily have been his third code violation — triggering a game penalty. But Veljovic read the room, and perhaps recognised the variable nature of the technology, and let the Aussie resume playing.
It won her even more hearts.
“This umpire used her discretion and was flexible, something a lot of other umpires could learn from,” David Muir wrote on Facebook.
“They should force Carlos Ramos to watch a video of this match so that he can learn how to deal with a difficult situation without blowing up an entire match … she did great,” added Sandy Harris, referencing the umpire that famously penalised Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open.
Of course there’s other reasons Veljovic catches the eye.
“Am I the only person who thought the umpire was Jennifer Lopez?” asked Danielle Cerin on Facebook in the wake of the match, while others were even cheekier, wondering if she had an OnlyFans page.
It’s not the first time her striking looks have received attention – both good and bad.
Tennis chair umpire Marijana Veljovic is a head turner.Source: Herald Sun
Last year Canadian bombshell Eugenie Bouchard complimented her by saying: “The umpire in this Roger/Tennys match is super pretty.”
But she also found herself the subject of Boris Becker’s creepy comments.
“I have to say, the umpire is extremely pretty,” said Becker, according to tennis journalist Petra Philippsen.
He added: “You eat with your eyes.”
Veljovic received her gold badge for umpiring in 2015 and has been in the chair for some of the biggest matches on the tennis calendar.
In 2018 she officiated the 2018 Australian Open women’s singles final and in 2019 she was in the chair for the Wimbledon women’s singles final. Later in 2019 she was the umpire for the Fed Cup Final.
She has previously spoken about trying to bring more female officials to the sport.