|Dates: 28 May-11 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris|
|Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app|
Britain’s Cameron Norrie was unhappy that an “absurd” call from the umpire changed the momentum of his French Open match against France’s Benoit Paire.
After winning the first set, Norrie was penalised for hindrance early in the second after being ruled to have put off Paire by shouting mid-point.
Paire broke serve and won the next two sets, before 14th seed Norrie fought back to win 7-5 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4.
“I’ve never been called for that. I think it’s unacceptable,” Norrie said.
“Both of us didn’t know why he called it. I think Benoit thought it was for him, both of us were a bit confused. It was for sure a grunt.
“[The umpire] must have thought that I said something and I think to get involved there was absurd.”
Norrie put the incident behind him to hold off Paire in an entertaining first-round contest and maintain British interest in the Roland Garros singles.
Norrie, 27, is the only Briton through to the second round with Jack Draper’s injury problems continuing as he retired from his opening match with a shoulder issue.
Dan Evans lost his opening match on Sunday and there are no British women in the main draw.
Evans, who was beaten by Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, was also on the receiving end of an unusual decision by the officials when he was penalised for a harsh foot-fault.
“For me, I was a grunt, and for Evo, he was nowhere near foot faulting,” said British men’s number one Norrie, who plays another Frenchman, qualifier Lucas Pouille, in the second round on Wednesday.
“I got away with it and I was able to come through in five sets. But it was a big call and it changed the momentum of the match.”
Norrie maintains British interest in the singles
When Draper retired while Norrie was battling to survive against 34-year-old Paire, it felt like it could be another chastening day for British tennis.
Only Norrie, Draper and Evans made the main draws at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, with another 10 losing in the qualifying events.
Emma Raducanu is absent after having surgeries on wrist and ankle injuries, while Andy Murray pulled out because he wanted to focus on preparing his body for the upcoming grass-court season.
No British players reached the second round on the Paris clay in 2020 and another first-round wipe-out looked on the cards with Norrie trailing.
But the world number 13 maintained his composure in a partisan atmosphere and dug deep against the unpredictable Paire, who discussed retirement last year but was given a wildcard at Roland Garros after continuing.
After edging a tight opening set, momentum swung away from Norrie following the harsh hindrance call from umpire Nico Helwerth in the third game of the second.
Helwerth docked Norrie the point at 30-30 and it enabled the Frenchman to break for a 2-1 lead.
With the vociferous backing of the jubilant home fans, Paire fed off their energy and was locked in during a third set where Norrie twice dropped serve early on.
But Norrie is known as one of the most composed players on the ATP Tour, showing his mental resilience to reset and level the match with a one-sided fourth set.
Despite losing serve in a poor start to the decider, Norrie upped his level again and his greater endurance – mental and physical – proved decisive in a strong finish.
“I think the crowd can be tough at times, but I keep reminding myself it’s good to be playing, that I want to be out there competing and being in those tough moments when the crowd is against me,” said Norrie.
“It makes it even better to come through those matches.”